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Alone in the Wilderness - Joseph Knowles

Alone in the Wilderness - Joseph Knowles

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ALONE

IN

THE WILDERNESS

JOSEPH KNOWLES IN WILDERNESS GARB. PHOTOGRAPHED AT MEGANTIC ON THE DAY HE CAME OUT OF THE WOODS, OCTOBER 4, 1913

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
BY

JOSEPH KNOWLES
from drawings on birch bark^ made
sticks

Illustrated

by the
his

author in the woods with burnt
fires^ together

from

with photographs taken
after his experiences

before

and

BOSTON SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY
PUBLISHERS

.Kb

Copyright, 1913

By

Small,

Maynard and Company
(incorporated)

THE UNIVERSITY

PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.

To My Mother

i)CI,A3G1640
Jf-:

AN APPRECIATION
My
to

wannest thanks are due to people too numerous
for their

mention individually,
experiment,

personal interest in

my

and

in

particular to

my
me

good friend
in the prepa-

Paul Waitt for his kindness in helping
ration of this

book

for publication
it.

and

for his

many

valuable suggestions in regard to

JOSEPH KNOWLES
Boston, December
2,

1913

CONTENTS
Chapter
I

Pace

An Idea and a Birthday
The
First Days in the Wilderness
First Adventure
.

i

II

19

III

My

35
51

IV

The Rescue of the Fawn
Trapping a Bear

V
VI
VII
VIII

65
.
.

The Mental versus the Physical
Wilderness Neighbors

79
93

y

Fever and the Battle of the Moose
Animal Studies
Killing a

112 127

IX

V

X
XI
XII
XIII

Deer with the Hands

,

.

145

Wilderness Adventures

159

More Wilderness Adventures

....
...
...

177 193

The World and the Wilderness

XIV Trapping and Woodcraft

209

XV
XVI
XVII
XVIII

The Value of the Experiment
Concerning the Boy Scouts

224
239 254

Nature and Art

The

Inside

Story of the

Canadian
269 286

Trip

XIX The Future

ILLUSTRATIONS
Joseph Knowles in wilderness garb. Photographed at Megantic on the day he came out of the woods,
October,
4,

1913

Frontispiece
FACING PAGE

^-

Joseph Knowles as he appeared a month before
entering the

woods

4
12

Preparing to enter the wilderness

Breaking the last link. Entering the woods at the foot of Spencer Trail, August 4, 1913

20

The doe

at Lost Pond. The first sketch drawn by the author during his two months in the wilderDone on birch bark with burnt sticks from ness.

his fires

26"
fire-making by friction

The author demonstrating
with crude material.
entered the woods

Posed shortly before he
44

Rear view of one of the author's lean-tos in the Bear Mountain country. Found and photographed by outsiders after the author had left

50

The

deer and the white fawn. A sketch made in the woods by the author on birch bark, with burnt
sticks

from

his fires
left

58

Cache where the author
for the outside world

messages and sketches
62
^

Wild-cat watching deer and fawn. Drawn by the author in the woods on birch bark, with burnt
sticks

from

his fires

70

Dream

Drawn in the picture of the outside world. woods by the author on birch bark, with burnt
sticks

from

his fires

82

ILLUSTRATIONS
FACING PAG&

The

fawn. Drawn by the author in the woods on birch bark, with burnt sticks from his fires
little
.

98

*

Beaver at work. Drawn by the author in the woods on birch bark, with burnt sticks from his fires
.

106

^

The

Sketch made by the battle of the moose. author in the woods on birch bark, with burnt sticks from his fires

120

A

birch-bark message to the outside world, written by the author in the woods with burnt sticks

from his

fires

140

The

author's first shoes, bark of the cedar

made

of the inner lining

150

A glimpse of

the Spencer country in Northern

Maine

164 v

Calendar (in center), birch-bark dishes and drinking cups, found in the woods after the author had left. The calendar he lost several days before he left for Canada, but it was found by others afterward
.

196

^'

A sketch done
of fungus

by the author in the woods on a piece with burnt sticks from his fires ...

216

\

Dr. Dudley A. Sargent of author at his ofBcc in the Hcmenway G\aiinasium, shortly after the author came from the wilderness

Harvard examining the
232

Implements made in the woods by the author and used by him during his experiment. A sketch made by the author in the woods on birch bark, with burnt sticks from his fires

250 260

The author greeting his mother at Wilton, Maine, .... after he had completed his experiment Game wardens escorting the author to Attean Camps From left to right, after his return to civilization.
Mr. Pendelton, Mr. Comber, Mr. Durgin, Mr. Wilcox

276

A portion of
on

his arrival in Boston,

the crowd that greeted Joseph Knowles October 9, 1913
.
.

.

290

ALONE

IN

THE WILDERNESS

ALONE

IN

THE WILDERNESS
CHAPTER
I

AN IDEA AND A BIRTHDAY

On

the Saturday afternoon of October fourth,

nineteen hundred and thirteen, just at the time

^vhen sunshine marked the end of two days'

emerged from the Canadian forest on the shores of Lake Megantic, having lived the life of a primitive man for two months in the wilderness of northern Maine. I was tanned to the color of an Indian. I had a matted beard, and long, matted hair. I was scratched from head to foot by briers and

heavy

rain, I

underbrush.

Over the upper part

of

my body
I

I

wore the

skin of a black bear, which

had fastened

together in front with deerskin thongs.
legs

My
I

were incased in crudely tanned deerskin

chaps, with the hair inside.

On my

feet

wore moccasins of buckskin, sewed together with sinew. I wore no hat. On my back was a pack, made from woven lining bark of the

2

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

cedar, in which I carried various implements

from the forest. I had a rude bow and arrows, and a crude knife, made from the horn of a deer, dangled
at

my

waist.

It was thus that I entered the little FrenchCanadian town of Megantic back to the


it

civilized

world.

I received a
of,

welcome that

I

had not dreamed
proved to

and

I

was very happy,

for

me

at that time that the people were really in-

However, as the hours went on, began to realize that they considered that I had done a wonderful thing. It is because of this impression, which seems to have taken hold of many people since my reterested.
I

turn, that I will begin this narrative

by saying
all

that

it

was not wonderful.

Above

else I

want

to emphasize that
for

my

living alone in the

two months without clothing, food, or implements of any kind was not a wonderful thing. It was an interesting thing; but it was not wonderful. Any man of fair health could do the same thing, provided he meant business and kept
wilderness
his head.

But, to the best of

my

knowledge,

no other man in the history of civilization ever did what I did; and for that reason the people

AN IDEA AND A BIRTHDAY
are marveling at
for the first
side;
it.

3

To be
its

sure,

doing a thing

time has

usual and mysterious

but

it is

not necessarily wonderful.

The

idea of this experiment

came

to

me about

a year ago, while I was spending a few weeks At the time I was at Bradford, Vermont. painting pictures of outdoor life in a little log
cabin on what
is

known

in that locality as Sad-

I was painting a moose, dleback Mountain. and, as I added a touch of color to the canvas,

I

began to wonder how many people would

notice that particular bit of color, which, from a

standpoint of faithful portrayal, was as important as the eye of the creature
itself.

From

this

thought

my

mind wandered on

to the realization that the people of the present

time were sadly neglecting the details of the
great book of nature.

And, as
fore me.

I thought, I forgot the picture be-

I said to myself, I

"Here,

I

know some-

thing about nature.

be possible for

wonder if it would not me to do something for the

benefit of others."

Then I would laugh at the idea of my doing anything for the world! Probably all of us have wild dreams now and then. I am beginning to think that wild dreams are wonderful things to have. I have always hoped, more

4

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

than anything else, that I might sometime do something which would benefit mankind, even in a small way. The idea of "nature and myself" stuck in my mind, and I began to wonder what I might do
to turn the attention of the public back to

nature.

I

knew

that art appealed to only a

part of the people.
alone;

I couldn't do it by art no one ever had. A new impetus was

needed.

was too much life at the present day in the cities. myself comparing our present mode
I

believed

there

artificial

I

found

of living

with the wild rugged

life

of the great outdoors.
if

Then,

all of

a sudden, I wondered

the

man

of the present day could leave all his luxury behind him and go back into the wilderness and live on what nature intended him to have. In that thought came the birth of the idea. That night I went down to the hotel in Bradford and began talking it over with several of

my
the
I

friends.

At

first

they
of

all

laughed at the
of

absurdity of a
life

man

to-day going back to

of

the primitive

man

yesterday.
fireplace,

remember, as we sat around the

they asked
I told

me

all

kinds of questions.
in order to
it

them that

experiment interesting

make such an would be necessary

JOSKPH KNOWLES AS HE APPEARED A MONTH BEFORE ENTERING

THE WOODS

AN IDEA AND A BIRTHDAY
for a

5

man

to enter the

woods

entirely naked,

without even a match or a knife, and live a stipulated time without the slightest communication or aid from the outside world. " What would you do for fire? " one man asked

me.
I replied to that

very quickly.

Another wanted to know what food I would be able to get in the wilderness and how I would get it without weapons. I mentioned a dozen
ways.

Then

the conversation

became

like a

game.

Every one wanted to see if he could n 't stick in some way. That night I couldn't think of a single thing that would keep me from undertaking such an experiment. In the busy days which followed I promptly

me

forgot

all

about the idea, just as nine tenths

of all ideas are forgotten.

Not

until the be-

ginning of last

summer

did the thought take

hold of
inquire

me

again.

From time to time my friends would jokingly when I was going to leave them and
Then,
all of

become a wild man.
a sudden,
it

hit

me
the

hard.

Anfelt

other
in

mood

seized

me

like the

one I had
picture

the

cabin

while

painting

of

"

6

ALONE IN THE WILDEHNESS

the moose.
it

I said

— and
are

''I'll

try this stunt,

this time I meant and demonstrate to the

people

that

there

marvelous

things

to

be derived from

life

in the great outdoors.

When
of

I

told

my

friends that I really

was

going to try the experiment during the months
indeed.
cried,

August and September they became serious They were not joking now, when they

"Do

not think of such a thing!"

They

reminded me that it might be easy enough to answer all their theoretical questions satisfactorily; but to actually find fire and food and clothing would be impractical and, indeed, utterly impossible.

But

my mind was fully made up.
By

I left

Brad-

ford immediately for Boston, to
tions for the trip.

make preparaI

preparations

do not
to dis-

mean

that I went back to the city to train
I

for the trip.

went to Boston simply

cuss with other friends the plans that were in

my

mind.
it

First of all

was necessary

for

me

to choose

a location for the experiment.
task,

This was some

ness far

inasmuch as I desired to enter a wilderaway from civilization, where I would not be bothered by people from the outside
world. Finally I decided that I would go into the

AN IDEA AND A BIRTHDAY
forest

7

on the fourth of August, in what is known in the northwest Maine country as the Dead River Region. This country is covered with heavy black growth timber. Directly north is Bear Mountain, below which stretches Spencer Lake. To the east is Little Spencer, with Heald MounHorseshoe Pond and the tain just beyond. Spencer Stream lie to the southward, and the domain is bounded on the west by King and
Bartlett Lake.
I

selected this particular time for the exit

periment because I wanted severe kind of a test.
I

to be the

most

was handicapped by

civilization's habits

and comforts:
used
to-

my

skin

muscles were not firm; and

was not tough; my my stomach was

seasoned and well-cooked food.
I
still

However,
dependence.

retained

my

knowledge
the

of

the woods, and
It

it is

was on that alone
in the

I placed

mind,

I claim,

mind

that has been trained to

know

nature, that
is

the spark of complete independence

retained

down through
est

the ages.
of

As August fourth drew near some
friends
literally

my

clos-

begged me to abandon the idea. They warned me that I might become ill and wreck my future health, or even

8
lose

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

my

life,

and

all

that kind of talk.

They

were good to me, and I appreciated their feelings, but I knew they did not understand.
I

knew

better.

I

was confident.
Maine, which
is

I left

Boston

for Bigelow,

the end of the railroad in that part of the
country.

From

there

I

took the stage for

eight miles to Eustis, a village of fifty inhabitants, situated

Then

on the edge of the forest. came something worse than living
in the forest

two months alone
board
trail.

—a

ride for

sixteen miles over the

King and Bartlett buckof this

The terminus
I

road brought
I

me

to the

King and Bartlett Camps, where
entered the wilderness.

stayed until

Directly in front of these camps

and Bartlett Lake.
professional

It

is the King was a mile across to

the opposite shore, where, in the presence of

men and sportsmen who were
for the wilds, leaving

stop-

ping at the camps in the vicinity, I disrobed

and started

my

clothes

behind and taking absolutely nothing with me.
Presently I will relate

my struggles for exist-

few days, but first I want to mention one morning when I awoke with a flood of sunshine pouring into my leanence during those
first

to

stick.

and mark the tenth notch in my calendar That made it August thirteenth, and

AN IDEA AND A BIRTHDAY
it

9

birthday.

suddenly dawned on me that this was my Then the thought came to me that

was my birthday, and in that thought it seemed to me as if, for the first time, my early life and memories mobilized and passed in review before me, while I sat gazing off between the trees. I saw the old-fashioned house in the forest clearing in Wilton, Maine, where I had been born just forty-four years ago that day. I saw myself as a boy, living in poverty and being forced to do things for myself.

my mother would know it

It seemed, sitting there in the sunshine, as
if

a blizzard were raging

off there,

among

the

and through the whirl of snow I could see my mother coming out of the woods with a load of wood on her back, just as she had done many years ago. Never until that day did I realize what my mother had done for me. It was she who had taught me about the woods and the animals. I remembered what a hard time father had had after he had come home from the Civil War, crippled and unable to help support the
trees,

family.

My
near

mother was born in the wilds of Canada, the Indians, and is the most couraIn those days of

geous person I ever met.

10

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

privation in Wilton she alone supported the

There were father, my two brothers, my sister, and I. In winter she would haul the wood from the forest to keep us warm. In summer she would pick berries and walk six miles to the village to sell them. She wove baskets, made moccasins, and took in work from the people of the village to make both ends meet.
whole family for ten years.
I fancied I

could see her smiling face that
I lay

birthday morning as

naked on the ground. One vivid memory came to me of the day when we had been snowed in for some time and all mother could find for us to eat was one solitary turkey egg. It was n't very much for a hungry family of six, but she was equal to the occasion. She took the last of some flour she had and made up a batter. This concoction was all we had to eat for three days. Mother didn't take a mouthful during that time, always maintaining that she wasn't hungry! While such thoughts made me a bit homesick, as I lay there alone, I remembered that my mother had no use for a quitter. My back door led right into the woods. I
could not go outside of the house without run-

ning into them.

I

used to play among the
I

trees,

and when

I

saw a strange animal

would rush

AN IDEA AND A BIRTHDAY
be.

11

toward home to ask mother what it might She would make me describe it; and, when I did, she always knew what it was. Then she would tell me all about the life and
habits of that animal, so that soon I
all

knew

the wild creatures that haunted the wilds
us.

about

One particular incident of that childhood past came to my mind. One day, while playing in the woods, it occurred to me that I was old enough to be a hunter I was ten years

old at the time. So I walked back to the house and got the old family gun out. The gun was

longer than I was, but I
into the

managed

to drag

it

woods with me. About eight feet of snow covered the ground. I had on my father's old slippers, which acted Hardly had I like snowshoes on the crust.
lost sight of the

house when

I

heard a noise

above me in a tree. Looking up I saw something dark moving in the branches. My first thought I remember it to this was to run, but I got my courage up and day at the same time managed to lift the gun to my shoulder and fired. Not a sound came from the animal in the tree, but in a moment my hair stood on end to see the creature come backing slowly down the trunk!

12
I let

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
out a yowl, dropped the gun, tripped

in the big slippers,

and fell face downward on the crust. But I was up again in a flash, dashing away toward home, and leaving the slippers behind on the snow. When I reached the door I fell flat on my Mother and father came face and howled. rushing out to see who had been killed. "There 's a bear after me!" I shrieked. With that, my father limped down the
steps and, giving

me

a

little
lie

shake, cried out,

"Don't you

tell

such a

as that.

The bears

are all in their

dens at this time of year!"

Mother calmed him and helped me to my feet. "Now let's find out just what it was,"
she said.

When

I

blurted out

the

part

where

the

animal backed down the tree she assured me that it was no bear, but a hedgehog! They knew that hedgehogs look very much
like

bear cubs at night, so they did n 't get after
further.

me any
I

laughed out loud there alone in the forest
recollec-

that thirteenth of August as these
tions flittered across

my

mind, but I quickly

remembrance of my running away from home. I ran away to go to sea when I was a boy of only thirteen years.
sobered
again
at

the

•Mu*"

TKICPAKING TO ENTER THE WILDERNESS

AN IDEA AND A BIRTHDAY

13

During the long winter evenings, father, who had seen something of life in his earlier days,
used to
tell

us fascinating stories of the sea
stories got

and the
ocean.

full-rigged ships that sailed across the

Those

I planned

to go to sea;

me. For six months and one night, after

father
field

had scolded me

for not
left

working in the
I

with the other boys, I
It took
I

the house quietly

and went out into the

night.

way to Portland. The first thing

me

walked all the two whole days.
in

saw on arriving

that

great city was a vessel just about to sail from

one of the wharves. I went the rounds of the various wharves asking for a job, but my size was against me and I was turned down everywhere. I was
discouraged and homesick that
first

night in
since

a big

city.

I

had n 't had anything to eat
to sleep.

leaving

home and had nowhere

I left the

docks and started up the railroad

tracks looking for

some place to

sleep.

was with me in to an old barn
railroad
tracks.

this respect, for I

Luck soon came

in a field
I

crept
fell

by the side of the inside and dropped
asleep immediately.

down on

the hay and
I

When
I

awoke the sun was shining through

the barn door.

Looking off toward Portland could see the masts along the waterfront.

14

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

I

gazed off up the tracks toward Wilton. I was hungry and homesick, but, nevertheless, when once more I turned my eyes to the sea So I trotted along it was all sea again for me. All that day I met toward the wharves.
disappointment.

Not one

of

the

captains

would give me a job. It was my third day away from home and Again that night I had not eaten a thing. I went back to the shelter of the barn, but
before I
fell

asleep I firmly resolved to go
it

home

was daylight. When morning came I started on my way toward Wilton. I didn't feel the hunger so keenly now, and as I walked along it came into my mind that I had heard that a man could go nine days without eating. Already I had been away from home three days. It would take two more to reach Wilton, which would leave four more before I actually starved to
as soon as

death, I figured.

However,

I

did not go back

home

that day.

I discovered,

moored

to one of the wharves, a

two-topmast schooner, which had n't been there ''I'll take one chance at her, the day before. and then, if there's nothing doing, I'll go

home," I said to myself. As I approached the craft

I

could see

mem-

AN IDEA AND A BIRTHDAY
by,

.15

bers of the crew unloading merchandise. Close

on a keg of salt mackerel, sat a graywhiskered old man, who occasionally shouted something to the busy men about him.
''He's the feller," I reasoned.
''It's

a great day, ain't it!" I greeted, com-

ing nearer.

"What
I

of it!"

was

his curt reply.

This unexpected answer didn't phase me.

had too much at stake. "I "Oh, nothing much," I continued. just had to say something." "Why did you have to say something?" he demanded, looking steadily at me. " 'Cause I'm looking for a job," I put in
quickly.

"Huh?"
truth he.
I

grunted the captain, for

it

was

in

"

What can you
least idea.

do?

"

had n't the

But even that day

in the wilderness, looking

years, I

back after all those seemed to see the steering wheel of
steer a ship,"
I

that vessel.

"I can
ing for the

answered,

believ-

moment that I really could. "Did you ever go to sea before?" "No, sir." "Well, how do you know you can steer a

ship then?" he demanded.

16

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
Just while I was hopelessly floundering around

for a

good reason, the cook came out of the

cabin with a bucket in her hand and asked
the captain to send someone for fresh water at
the hydrant at the head of the wharf.
the nearest to him, so he sent
I

was

me

for the

water

and told me I could make the trip with him. At last I was going to sea! I was a real sailor! And, at least, I would get something
to eat!
I

made

a few trips on

the coast on

that

schooner.
squall.

One day the jib blew away in a The mate called me a "land lubber,"

and other choice names, which aren't fit to be printed, and the upshot of it was that I quit the ship. I landed at Portland with two
ten-dollar bills in
I

my

pocket, the

first

money

had ever had in my life, and started at once for home. First I bought the whole family presents. What a joyful home-coming it was! Father was down to the village when I arrived. He came in later, while I was relating

my
still

adventures to
of

sight

me

— the

my

mother.

When

he caught
stood

runaway son

— he

a moment, looking at me.

Then, without

a word, he went into the next room.

That

hurt more than any licking he had ever given me.

AN IDEA AND A BIRTHDAY
That
house,
I

17

night,

two hours

after

entering

the

crept

down

stairs

and ran away again,

just as I

I

had done the year before. I was gone for a number of years. At first I went back to the coasters. Then I trashipped aboard the deep water ships.
This time
all

veled nearly

over the world. Later
of

I

entered
that

the United States Navy, where I served enlist-

ments
I

for

a
I

number
would

years.

After

to try sailing on the So I left the coast and sailed on the Great Lakes for another twelve months. It was while I was in that country that I

decided

like

fresh-water

lakes.

became acquainted with tribes of Sioux and Chippcwah Indians. They were scattered all
along
the

west coast of

Michigan.

I

gave

and went among them. That went back into the mountains and Of course, hunted and trapped with them. I picked up valuable knowledge about the woods under these conditions. It was remarkable to me, as I reflected there in the forest on my forty-fourth birthday, how the smallest details of my past life came back It seemed as if in those first to memory. few days the cobwebs were wiped away from my brain, revealing thoughts which were com-

up the
I

sailing

year

18

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
It

pletely forgotten.

seemed as
I

if

I

thought clearly before. a trifle homesick.
I

confess I

had never was just

reached out and ripped a piece of fungus

from a tree close by, and began sketching on its smooth white surface a crude picture of my lean-to, as I had often done for hunters from the city, who told me I should make the most of such a talent. That was the way I started my art work. I just drew the things I saw around me in the forest. I never went to an art school, but I studied the works of successful artists, and won what success has been mine through my own
efforts.

The

fascination

of

the

panorama

of

the

past that unfolded

itself

before

me

that birthto eat.
trees

day morning made me quite

forget

The

sun,

peeking

down through

the

from high overhead, told me that hours had gone by. I rose and started for the burnt lands after
berries.

CHAPTER

II

THE FIRST DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS

To go back

to

the beginning of

my

life

in the wilderness,

heavy
I

skies

and a steady

drizzle of rain greeted

me on

the morning of

August fourth, when and Bartlett Camps.
did n't bother me.

awoke in the King However, the weather

The sportsmen and professional men who were
interested
in

my

departure joked with

me,

and laughingly said that they would see me back again that night. Everyone was in the
best of spirits.

Shortly

after

nine

o'clock

we

all

left

the

camps
lett

for the opposite side of

King and Bart-

Lake.
drizzle

had increased to a steady downpour, and the brown suit of clothes which I wore became wet through. The time for my entering the forest was
about ten o'clock. The boats landed at the foot of what is known as the Spencer Trail, which rises straight
19

The

20

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
side
of

up the
its

Bear

Mountain and winds

way

up over the crest and

down

the other
to Spencer

side for five miles through the

woods

Lake.

"Here's your
offering

last cigarette," cried

someone,

me
it

the

smoke
lit it,

as I began to take off

my
I

clothes.

took

and

and then went on undressfinal puffs of

ing.
I

Presently

I

stood naked.
the cigarette,

took two or three

tossed it to the ground, and began to shake hands with everyone. My body was already glistening with the rain but it did n't bother me any. I waved my hand as a last farewell to human companionship for two months, and started up the trail. At the top of the incline, where, in another moment, I would be out of sight among the trees, I paused and waved once more to the waiting crowd below. Then I

struck out straight along the
I I

trail.

had

left

civilization!

don't remember a great deal of that fivemile trip. My mind was filled with all kinds

kept saying to myself, "I shall keep on going straight ahead into the woods, where I shall not see anyone or talk with anyof thoughts. I

one for two months,"

Then the

realization

FIRST DAYS IN

THE WILDERNESS

21

would come over me that what food and comfort I obtained would have to come through

my own
tain

resourcefulness.

By now I had reached the ridge of Bear Mounand swung along down the other side, where I easily recognized the lay of the land, though I had not seen it for ten years. Presently I saw the surface of Spencer Lake through the trees below me. In order to avoid the Twin Camps I swung
off

the

trail to

the right, crossing over dead-

falls

and plunging through the tangled underI

brush.

When
that

reached Spencer Lake I looked across
its

background of and then to the sky line, way beyond, and saw a rugged picture. The sweep of rain hung like a filmy curtain between me and the distant mountain forest, softening the lights and shadows of
sheet of water, with
endless trees that rose up, up, up,

everything.

For fully fifteen minutes I stood there in the rain and studied that wild stretch of nature. Three ducks flew around in a circle over the
water.

wasn't cold even then. Unconsciously I began to walk slowly along the Spencer shore, wondering just what I should do first.
I

22

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

To save my life I couldn't seem to make any connected plans. So I wandered aimlessly along for some time, finally reaching a point some distance below the Kempshall Camp. Then I faced the heavy growth of woods and plunged in. I had no particular destination; I was just going anywhere. Perhaps I had gone two miles when I found
myself in a spruce thicket.

By now

the after-

noon was well along, and I had n 't done a thing but wander about! I had thought about building a fire, but saw there was little chance with everything dripping wet about me. However, I decided to make a First I hunted for a good piece of pine try.
root to be used as a base; then a stick for a
spindle.

Next
I

I

ripped

off

a piece of bark of

the cedar.
strips,

tore the inner bark into small
I

which

braided into a kind of rope.

This

I

looped about the spindle, tying the ends

to a bow-stick I

had snapped

off

a dead tree.

I had to get my fire through friction, caused by whirling the spindle on the pine base by sawing back and forth with my crude fire-bow.

hunted in every crevice and log for dry punk. Everything was soaked through. I then saw the absolute foolishness of it all, and straightway gave up the task.
In vain
I

FIRST DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS
It

23
this

was now dark, and here

I
fire,

was

in

spruce thicket, without food or
miles from a camp.
I

naked, and

made up my mind

that I would stay out
if

one night anyway, even
I

I

went back and

called the stunt off early in the morning.

found a place where I could walk back and forth a bit to keep warm, so I started in. With the darkness the air grew colder. The I ran back and rain continued, unabated.

was tired and breathing heavily. Then I would stop for a moment to rest, sitting down on the wet ground with my back
forth until I

against a tree. Of course, I could n't sit there very long without catching cold, so after a
little

I

would

get

up

and begin

walking

again.
I

must have run miles that

night, in that
I

little

space in the spruce thicket.

would

stop to rest, only to start walking again.

must have been early the next morning, about three o'clock, I guess, when it began to get very cold. The rain had stopped. I increased my pace back and forth. Thus running and resting I spent the first night alone in
It

the wilderness.

Daylight came very slowly, but with was on the move.

it

I

24

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
Not a thought had
I

given to food since I

was n 't hungry. trail and followed it along, not knowing where I was going. Presently it began to rain again, and, while I got used to it later, I did not welcome it just then. My thoughts were the same jumbled thoughts of the day before. As I roamed along, my resolve to leave the forest and call the experiment off did
entered the forest.
I struck
I

a natural

game

not

figure
I

particularly

in

the

morning's

mood.
going.
degree.

somehow didn't
I

care where I

was

And
last I

did not feel the cold to any great

At
seen

reached Lost Pond.

I I

it

before, although years

ago

had never had been

well acquainted with the country thereabouts,

and knew
small to
if it

must be it. It looked very me, and for a moment I wondered
this
still

were Lost Pond. Out in the open it was
really

raining hard.
it

As

my

eyes wandered across the pond

seemed

good to see distance instead of just trees. I wanted to put my hands in my pockets to enjoy the picture better, but I didn't have any pockets to put them in. Nothing in that view escaped me that day. I saw the sky, the trees, and the opposite shore.

FIRST DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS
It helped

25

break the monotony of that dark
I

rainy day.
I

never

knew what

but I think there is man or an animal to a place of

went to that pond for, something that draws a
relief in

woods
miles

— any

the

opening, any sheet of water, or
is

spring, or anything that

different

from the

and miles

of

trees

which become so

tiresome.

People have
nition of

many

different ideas of the defi-

word monotony. True monotony means a tree and a tree and a tree, and then some more of the same kind of trees over and over again. It means the same lay of the land over and over again. In the midst of this monotony of trees, sometimes the game trail will suddenly lure you into an opening, as, unconsciously, I had been carried to Lost Pond this particular morning. In case there is no clearing or sheet of water in the country round about, the most natural thing is to climb to the highest peak you can
the
find,

where the great open sweep above the

timber offers a different kind of a picture.
Scarcely had
posite

my

eyes traveled to the opI

shore

when
I

noticed

a

beaver

dam

a

little

to the left of me.

Signs of activity

were there and

saw

fresh cuttings.

26

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
The
rain
I saw seemed to be increasing. opposite shore and I thought

a deer on the

how how

comfortable she looked.

Then

I

thought

would be to make plans to catch that deer, or any other deer that came down to the water. I envied her her hide that morneasy
it

ing, I

can

tell

you!
into my mind my promise game laws of the State of made me sore to remember

Then
Maine.

there

came

to live within the
It

how
fused

the Fish and

Game Commission had
kill

re-

me

a permit to

the

game

I actually

needed.
see

They had a

perfect right to grant

that permit, according to law; but they didn't
fit to.

I grew revengeful at this thought, because, under the circumstances, my lot would be ever so much harder than that of the primitive man The first men of the forest were not of old. handicapped by laws from an outside civilized

world!

authorities had given me would have been more comthat permit my fortable during those first few days in the
If

the

game
life

wilderness.
I

did n't wish to

harm

that old doe across the
I realized

lake, but, at the

same time,

that her

skin would have been a godsend to
then.

me

just

S o

Ph

W W Q

Pi

^ 5 w

S W S
H O M ^ < S

FIRST DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS
As
it

27
her,

was, I

waved
I

my hand
girl!

toward

shouting, ''Go ahead, old

I'll

get along

some way. "
there alone.

Then

turned

my

steps toward

the beaver dam, and left the old doe standing

There were runways.

many
this

deer

tracks

in

the

The

rest

of

day was uneventful.

I

hadn't got my balance yet. As yet were still confused.

My
I

thoughts

did not feel

any hunger, so made no efforts to get food, though I had n 't eaten anything since breakfast at the King and Bartlett Camps just before
I entered the forest.
I I

simply wandered around, not caring where

went.

Because

of the cold

and rain

I started

back early along the trail for the spruce thicket, where I had spent the night before. Another attempt at making a fire proved
unsuccessful.

The second
first,

night was a repetition of the

spent in alternately walking back and

and resting. I didn't suffer terribly, but it was not altogether comfortable out there without any clothes. With the morning came the sunshine. As I //' came out into the clearing, the sun felt good on my body.
forth

28
I

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
hunted round
in
till

I

spot,

among

the

trees.

found a partly shaded I needed sleep
just then, so I lay
of the

more than anything else down, and in the warmth

morning sun
of

forgot everything for a couple of hours.

When

I

awoke

I felt the

pangs

hunger

for the first time.
I crossed over the

beaver dam, and followed

the outlet of the pond, keeping my eyes open for shallow pools, where, perhaps, I might land some trout. I was headed for the burnt lands in search of my first food. I knew that I should be able to find berries there in abundance. The burnt lands are those parts of the forest which have been swept by fire. The land is open and full of charred tree trunks, here and there. Blueberries can always be found in

down

such land.

On I went on the other
lands.
I

until I reached Little Spencer,

side

of

which lay the burnt

came upon bush after bush loaded with blueberries and raspberries. I gathered a handful and ate them. After I had eaten my fill, I headed for the
thicker woods, where, with the help of sharp
stones,
I

peeled

some birchbark from the

FIRST DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS
trees.

29

Folding

the

bark

into

cornucopias,

and pinning the overlaps with splint sticks, These I took I soon had two berry-dishes. back to the berry-patch and filled to overflowing,

storing

away

the

food

for

future

need.

Once more

I

headed toward

Little Spencer,

but this time I followed the outlet, earnestly hoping to land a trout. At last I came to a shallow pool, in which I managed to round

up a couple of trout. The fish had come up stream seeking the cooler waters of the springhole, and I simply shut the hole in from the stream by lowering the water. With a little patience I dispatched the trout with a
I
stick.

was

still

pretty

much
,

in the

open

of the

burnt lands, and the sun was already beginning to burn my tender back and shoulders.
I

knew

that I must tan
I

my body
I
left

gradually,

or else

would

suffer

a great deal of pain
the

and inconvenience.
soon
fell

So

open for

the shaded timberland, where I lay
fast asleep.

down and
it

When

I

awoke
and

was

late in the afternoon.

My
where

first

thought was of a

fire

shelter

for the night.
I

A
slept

short distance
I

away from
Here

had

found a spring.

30

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
in at

was the place for a camp, so I started once making plans for my first home.

some kind of a shelter, which would keep the wind away from me more or less. I hunted around for some crotch sticks, and, after finding two, I drove them into the ground wide apart. Next I placed a stick across Two the crotches and had my framework. more dead sticks were placed slanting to the ground, at either end, and then I began
begin with, I
to build to gather quantities of dry sticks, with
I

To

commenced

which

made

a crude, slanting roof.
sticks
I

boughs and bark. More fir boughs were stacked up against the sides, which were also banked with moss to keep the wind from whistling through. The front of this shelter was open. When the rude structure was finished, it was

Over these

placed

fir

nearly dark.

During the day, the wind had dried things quite a bit, so I began at once to try to make This time I found a fire that would burn. some punk in a crevice of a tree, which was
dry.

life,

began sawing back and forth for dear and soon my efforts were rewarded by a thread of smoke which rose from under my
I

FIRST DAYS IN
spindle.

THE WILDERNESS

31

as I thought the spark was up the base and blew it toward the punk which I held in my other hand. Presently I saw a spark on the punk and

As soon

there, I snatched

Then, with a little puff, This I applied to a little it burst into flame! of other bark and punk and sticks, which heap It I had all ready, and soon I had my fire.
nursed
it

carefully.

was merry
ion.

— that

fire

— just

like a

compan-

was time to eat, so I ate most of the berries I had brought in my cornucopias from
It

the burnt lands.

This simple meal was ample for
night,
especially

me

that

with the prospect of fresh

roast fish in the morning.

Just

before

settling

down

for

the

night,

two trout I had caught and put It them in the spring to keep them cool. was the only refrigerator I had. Then I went back and made up my bed. A man who doesn't know the woods would be surprised to learn what a really comfortable bed can be made by first putting down fir boughs and then covering them with dry
I took the
leaves.

a great comfort that heaped it high with wood when I

What

fire
first

was!
lay

I

down

32

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
to

to rest, and, with an occasional replenishing,

managed

pass

a

comparatively

comfort-

able night.

Even
and
It
I

in

the morning the coals remained,
again.

soon had it burning was another fair day.
for

"Now
as
I

a
for

breakfast of
the spring

trout,"

I

said,

headed

down
I

the

slope

about
fish

fifty feet

away.

But, when

got there,

what was

my

consternation to find that the

were gone!

Fresh mink tracks

all

about

I had been robbed by told their own story. someone else who was hungry! Anyway, the spring was left, so I lay down and took a drink. Then I went back to my lean-to and ate the few remaining berries I had

tucked away. I decided to explore some more,

so,

after

banking
of

my

fire,

I started off in

the direction

the burnt lands again.

On

the bank of

the stream I found a few roots which were
nourishing.
ery, but I

They

tasted something like cel-

didn't like them. I went on to the burnt lands and finished up my breakfast with another course of blueberries. There was one thing that had to be attended to at once, and that was to make some sort of covering for my legs. They were horribly

FIRST DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS
scratched and caused
tation.

33
irri-

me

a great deal of

Some witchgrass growing by the stream gave me an idea. I pulled up several handfuls, which I bound on to my legs, tying it around with pieces of the toughest grass.
fast

mourned the trout I had lost for breakand determined to catch another, which shouldn't get away from me. I hunted
I

everywhere for a shallow pool, like the one I had found the day before, but met with no success.
Just as I was despairing about finding a
fish in

that vicinity, I heard a splash in the

water up stream.
for the shore,
I

An
in its

otter

was swimming
big trout!

and
a

mouth was a

shouted at the top of
hurling
I

my

voice, at the

same
I

time
the

stone

into

the

water.

laughed as
appeared.

saw the trout come
belly up.

floating

down
dis-

stream,

The
I

otter

had

By
trout.

robbing
I I

the

otter

got

square with
It

the mink.

reached camp and roasted the
salti.j

can't say I enjoyed that meal.

tasted flat without

nourishment

of it later.

I

However, I felt the needed it after my
fire

simple berry diet.
After the repast, I sat looking into the

34

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
I

and thinking. the camp and

finally

decided to abandon

strike out for a better section.

The
me.
I

idea of going out of the forest had left

began to go about things as
itself.
it

if

I

were a

part of the forest

On
though
ing

first

consideration,

might seem as
energy in build-

I

had wasted a
for

lot of

my

lean-to for a single night.

But
I

I really

hadn't,

during

my

wanderings

find myself in that region again,

and

I

might would

know beforehand where
It

I

could find shelter.
country.

would be a kind
section

of

headquarters for that
the
I

particular
several

of

had
were

such

before

my

two

months

up.

Stamping out the smouldering embers, and
taking
oil in

my

fire

apparatus with me,

I

struck

the direction of Big Spencer Stream.

CHAPTER
MY
FIRST

III

ADVENTURE

So far my life in the wilderness had been very commonplace. I felt in the best of health. I had had no adventures, though unknown adventures were in store for me and they were to come quickly.

One
arrival

late

afternoon,

some time
Stream,
I

after

my
the

at

Big

Spencer

returned

to the burnt lands to gather berries.

On

way I stood on a down into a small
afar

slight

elevation,

looking

gully.

From somewhere
a
rifle

came the sound

of

shot,

which

brought back to
I

me

the thought of

human
and

beings; but I did not dwell

upon

it.

worked
light

overtime

picking

berries,
full.

soon gathered two birchbark dishes

was beginning to fade, so I made up my mind it was time to start for my camp, which was some distance away. Just as I was stepping over a charred, fallen trunk,
I

The

heard a crash in the bushes behind me. Whirling sharply about, I saw, down
35

in

36

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

the gully below, a deer come tearing through the brush with two bears at her heels. The
deer

was evidently wounded, as she would stagger and fall, then get to her feet again and
dash along.

The two bears looked like galloping balls They would almost reach the deer of fur. when she would fall but she always man;

aged to scramble to her feet in time to keep
just out of their reach.

Instinctively I

wanted to go to the aid

of

the deer, but better reasoning held

me

back.

Even

in the presence of

death

I

experienced a

bit of joy, for I

knew
life

the bears would eventu-

ally get the deer.

The
and
I

battle

for

had carried the deer
I

her pursuers well out into the burnt lands.

stood close by, watching every move.

could see that the deer was weakening.

Sudhurled

denly
itself

one

of

the

black

fur

bodies

on to the

frail

creature.

A

bear never

seemed so powerful to me before! Here I made my first mistake. I had been so glad that I might be able to get a deerskin without breaking the

game laws
I

of

the

State, that I did not stop to

figure that

by
the

waiting I might also get a bearskin.

did n't

take into consideration

that

when once

MY
it

FIRST ADVENTURE

37

deer was overcome, the two bears would fight

out between themselves as to the possession.

I should

have reasoned that they would

fight,

as they did.

Scarcely
struggles,

had the deer ceased her

pitiful

when one

of the bears flew at the

other.

Had
I

they been allowed to continue,

one would surely have killed the other in that

mixup. But

was so excited

I

ran

down

into

the gully, across the open space, toward the

scene of battle.
for the cover of

The bears saw me

at once,

for in less than a second they

were streaking the woods, leaving their prey

behind.

As
skin

I

leaned over the deer, I found that the
torn.

had hardly been
bullet.

High up on one

shoulder blood was streaming from a

wound
said to

made by a
I

"Probably that gun shot
I

heard about half an hour ago,"

No doubt some woodsman in need had made an attempt to get her, even though it was August, when deer are protected by law. I knew I wouldn't have time to skin the
myself.
of food

through the slow rocktearing process, so I dragged the body for
creature

that

night

some distance into the woods where I buried it with earth, branches, leaves, and stones.

.S8

ALONE TN THE WILDERNESS

Then I went back over the ground where I had just dragged the animal, and covered up tlic tracks with leaves. The trail was coml)lctc]y
oIjI

iterated,

or

at

least

I

thought
it.

it

was, so that the bears would not find
It

was

(juite

dark when

I

started

for

my

lean-to,

resolved to

come back and
was up
I

skin the

deer in the morning.

As soon

as the sun
I

made
deer.

for the
I

place where

had
I

hidden
the

my

had

one regret, that
of

had not made the most
night
before

that situation

and obto

tained a bearskin as well.

But soon
about,
I
for,

I

had something
arriving at
carcass,
1

else

think

ui)()n

the spot where

had interred the
rocks,

found leaves,

branches,
al)out!
I

earth

everything scattered
there before me.

The bears had been
h)sl

had
1

even the deerskin!
I
all

wanted that deerskin badly. However, it was gone, and that's
to
it.

needed
there

it.

was
deer

I

had counted a whole
also, for

lot

on

the

meat

my

food thus far had not been
it

very hearty, though
fashion.

had answered after a
I

In one of the marshes
of

had

hit a couple

frogs over

tlie

head, and tried eating the

MY
hind
In
legs.

FIRST

ADVRNrURK

30

But J could n't }ro the taste of these luxuries, and never tricnl tlieni aj^ain.
the clearings and

along
ate

llic

stri^anis

I

found })lenty of
(letting tired
ries,

rasi)l)erries

of

these,

I

and hkiel^errics. some l)unchber-

erl)erries

grow in scarlet chistiM-s; also checkand berrii-s of the mountain ash. Almost everywhere in the deep woods skunkwhicli

berries were to be found. T ate a lot of these, which contain mu( h nutriment. ThescM)erries are black and fuzzy, and i)robably receive their

name because they reseml)le the fur of the skunk. They grow on high l)ushes. 1 chewed
a great deal of s])ruce gum.

But, as

I

said

l)ef()r(',

such

food

was not

very substantial.

It
1

was enough

to get along

on

for awhile,

but

needed something more.
salt,

Wliile that
larly
it

first

trout had not been ])articu-

palatable

without

I

realized

that

had given me strength, and made uj) my mind that I must get some more. The loss of that deer meat was a great loss

indeed.

Once again T headed for the Big Spencer Stream country. T knc;w or thought I knew, where I could hnd some good spring holes, in which I hoped to catch some trout. After a long time my search was rewarded. I

40

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

found a spring hole, which was alive with them. I went down stream a little way, where, with rocks, I made a small pool. Then I went back to the big pool and began to drive
the trout into the small pool.
into

Down

they went
in
I

my

trap!

All I

and

just pick

had to do was to wade them up with my hands.

gathered up as

many

as I thought

I

needed

one and carried them to a rough lean-to which I had thrown up the night I came to this region from the Lost Pond district. Doubtless people who have always fished with a line and hook can scarcely conceive But it catching fish with the bare hands. In some is the simplest thing in the world.
instances, during

my

life in

the forest, I could

have obtained barrels of fish in this manner, had I seen fit. I remember one day when I crossed the beaver dam, previously mentioned. I wanted some fish, so I promptly let the water out of the dam. In the shallow pools were stranded
quantities of
fish.

I did this
all I

out of necessity,
I

and, as soon as

I

had

needed,

immediately

the broken places so that the fish behind would not die. left Of course many of the fish I caught in the Big

dammed up

MY

FIRST

ADVENTURE

41

Spencer Stream country would not have kept very long without some sort of preparation

on

my

part.

To

cure the

fish, I

selected sev-

and built a smoke hole with them, in which I hung the fish on sticks to smoke. I let them smoke for several hours,
eral flat rocks

which they would keep for days. I had an abundance of raspberries I would spread them out on pieces of birchbark to dry and shrivel up. In this way
after

When

I

preserved

many

berries.

By
I

this

time I was satisfied in

my mind

that

would not suffer physically from the experiI had fire and shelter and was getting enough to eat. Already I began to feel that I would never again think of such a thing as "calling it off," but that I should be able to stick it out the full time. Perhaps it was because I had the companionship of a fire. Fire was my greatest asset in the woods, by far. With a fire you have got about everything. It would be difficult in fact, I do not believe a man could get along for any
ment.

length of time in the wilderness without
First of
all, it

it.

aids

you

Next,
to

it is

a comfort

—a

in a

hundred ways.

wonderful comfort.
bigger, I

When

I

made my
''Here,
I

fire

would say
for

myself,

am making room

42

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

another fellow." Then for hours I would sit in front of it, thinking of my friends and of the
outside world.

From time
felt

to time I

would

catch myself talking out loud to myself.

The

mere were there made
fact

that I
it

that imaginary people

so

much

easier to

be alone.

As a comfort-producer, fire is second to nothing in the world. As I look back on it now
i>

seems as
Ofttimes

if it

did about everything for me.

would run across a log, which was me to carry. I would get busy making a fire beneath it and burn it in two. Then, if the pieces were still too large, I would burn them in two again, and so on, until I had chunks light enough to carry. I hadn't been in the forest long before the vision of a bow and arrow danced before me. I realized that it would of course require a lot of patience to make such a weapon; but I knew I could do it. Until I could obtain some rawhide I knew I should have to use the twisted lining of the inner bark of
I

too heavy for

the cedar for a string.
it

But, such as

it

was,

would be vastly better than nothing. Here the fire came to my aid again. In the

midst of a tangle created by the uprooting of a maple tree which as it fell had crashed into a hornbeam, carrying it with it, I found a horn-

MY

FIRST

ADVENTURE

43

beam sliver which I knew was the best kind of Such a wood with which to make my bow.
rough hasn't semblance to a bow.
stick

in the

the

slightest

re-

and let the stick burn for awhile, turning it now and then to get an even char. With a sharp rock I would then begin to scrape off the char, after which process the stick would be returned to the fire until a new char had burned. I scraped and charred that stick until I had reduced it to one inch in thickness. And all the while the fire had been seasoning it nicely for me. With the rocks I smoothed and rounded it perfectly. When it was done I had a formidable weapon, which aided me greatly in after days. It would be impossible for me to enumerate the things fire will do for a man, if he It will cook his will only let it and steer it. If there are vicious food, as it cooked mine. animals in the forest, it will keep them away. All a man would have to do, if attacked, would be to throw a burning brand into the bushes, and the creature would run quickly away. It might be starving, but it would not come^
I built a fire

Then

near the
Again,

fire.

fire

made

several clearings

for

when

I

wanted

to get rid of the tangle

me, and

44

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
fish;
I

underbrush. It smoked my broke my rocks. Many times

and it even cooked my food

on heated rocks, which were perfectly clean and very handy. Carefulness regarding fire in the woods is a most vital point. I have the greatest admiration for the splendid forest conservation movement, which has meant such great protection
to the natural world.
I

deplore

the

inexcusable
fires

carelessness

of

some men who build
woods,
If

at

random

in the

thereby destroying valuable
offenders

timber.

would only stop to conwhat a tree would do for them they would be far more careful with their lires. The tree shelters man. It gives him bark and wood for utensils. It offers warmth and
these
sider

even food.
ing of
fire

Just as

fire

is

a blessing, so are
bless-

the trees of the forest.

However, the

can be turned into a curse very
It is

quickly through thoughtlessness and deliberate neglect.

a good servant but a bad

master.

When
life

I

go over in

my mind

that eventful

in the wilderness, I suppose I could

have

pulled through some
fire;

way without
that
if
it,

the aid of

but

I

know

this,

I
I

obliged to get along without

had been would have

AUTHOR Dh.MONSrKMTNC. HKK-MAKINC IW FUUliUN Willi CRUDE MATKKIAL. POSED SHORTLY KEFORE HK ENTERED THE WOODS
TUi:

MY

FIRST ADVENTURE
skin

45
I

come back nothing but

and bones.

would actually have suffered. People who look at fire with fear do not realize what it really means. It is one of mankind's greatest blessings.

two months, I had, which I was forced build for protection. I would bank them and to keep them going for days at a time.-- One fire I kept for ten days by covering it over with burnt ashes and dirt whenever I left it. Sometimes I would go away all day and stay over night, and, when I returned to the camp, I would find a few glowing coals, with which
Altogether, during the

perhaps, six or seven

fires

I soon built a big healthy

fire.

During the last days of my first week, I spent most my of time in the Lost Pond and Big Spencer Stream country. I had made no attempt to get any skins since losing the deer, but had busied myself in many different ways.

My

witchgrass

leg-shields

were

not

very

them with something better. With sharp rocks I started the bark on some cedar trees, and gathered a
durable, so I set about replacing
large supply, peeling
tree,
feet.

some

of

up the which were as long as twenty
off

strips

right

46

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
These
strips I

would take back to my lean-to in order to separate the inner bark from the outer covering. Then I would tear the inner
bark into smaller
strips.

The
given

early training which

me

in basketry
I

those days.

my mother had came in very handy in began to weave long leggings

out of strips about a quarter of an inch wide. After a time I had a pair which covered

my

legs

like

trowsers, fastening to a belt of

I could go anywhere the same material. with this protection, which served me well,

for a time.

It

was

all

right while
it

fectly dry;

but when

it was became wet it

pertore

and wore out quickly. Getting more ambitious, I took wider and heavier strips of bark and wove a pack-basket large enough to carry my fire-kindler and other
things I might need.

In the meantime,
art

I

work or

my

diary.

had not forgotten my At various times I
it

got birch bark and tucked
tling

away

in

which-

ever lean-to I happened to be nearest.

Whit-

down

bits of charcoal for

my

pencils, I

wrote down
I

the events

of the

day by the
early in the

flare of the firelight at night.

decided to go to Lost

Pond

morning and sketch a

bit of the country

where

MY
I

FIRST
deer,

ADVENTURE
first of

47

had seen the

that second day in the

forest.

I did this,

and drew the

many

birch-bark pictures I

made

while living close

to nature in the wilderness.

That Friday
in

night,

while I was camping

my
and

lean-to

at
first

Big

Spencer

indulged in
first

my
I

luxury

—a

Stream,

smoke

— the

I

last while I

to

this

time
I

very much.

was in the woods. Up hadn't missed smoking so had too much else on my mind.
it.

I just did n't

think of

Out
bark
ettes.

of

mere curiosity

I

scraped some squaw

off of

a bush, and, using some whitewood

leaves as a wrapper, rolled a couple of cigar-

Strange to say, so far as looks went,
little

I noticed but

difference in these cigar-

ettes

from those

I

had always smoked

so

many

of in the city.

With a live brand I lit one, not because I wanted to smoke particularly, but out of mere curiosity, as I had a few idle moments to spare. I wanted to see the smoke float up. I smoked them both and that was the end of it. I never tried it again. Not that they weren't good cigarettes, but I had no desire to smoke,
living in the great outdoors.

There in the wilderness
that smoking
is

I

became convinced
It is

nothing but a luxury.

48

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
habit,
Its

a

man.

and harms rather than benefits companionship isn't worth the
I

smoking.

How
hunting

could

think of smoking while I was
to

food
fire

keep

away

the

pangs of

hunger, or

to keep

me warm?

suppose the luxury of smoking mind while I was running around in that
spruce thicket those
first

Do you came into my

No, indeed!

two rainy nights? Smoking was the farthest from

my

thoughts.
entering the woods I had deprived

By

my-

self of

every luxury.

I

knew

it.

I just for-

it as soon as I came under the shelter of the trees. I was proud to be able to deny myself, and, as a result, feel

got about that part of

much

stronger for

it.

After smoking those two woodland cigarettes that Friday night, I realized

what habit

stood for in the world.

not having cigarettes proved no great They weren't meant to be had, privation.
there in the wilderness.

My

They didn't

fit

the

surroundings.

had gone into the woods to see if a man could be self-sustaining, and get along without depending on civilization and his friends. Thus early I was satisfied that he could.
I

MY
To
the

FIRST

ADVENTURE
has

49
cigarettes
is

man who

smoked

under the impression that he would experience physical harm by abruptly cutting off the stimulant, let me state that, while he will perhaps be nervous and irritable for a few days, he will gradually begin to feel better than he has for a long time, and be glad that he is rid of the habit. Leaving off the smoking didn't even make me irritable or nervous; I simply forgot it.
incessantly for years, as I had,

who

The morning
tion

after

this

cigarette

dissipa-

was Saturday.

I rose early
trails in

and started
the direction

along the natural
of

game

Bear Mountain.
I

On

the

way

I

saw a

deer,

She wasn't frightened, although only a little way behind me. Part of the time I didn't pay any attention to her. When I stopped, she would stop; and when I began to move, she also moved slowly on. This continued for quite a piece.
talked
to.

whom

Finally I arrived on the south side of Bear Mountain, where I found a spring. A little higher up on the slope of the mountain was an ideal place for a camp. I de-

cided to build a first-class

home without

delay.
first

The

spot was about four miles from

my

lean-to,

which

I

had constructed back

in the

50

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

woods near Lost Pond. The other lean-to at Big Spencer Stream was only the roughest

kind of a shelter.
this

At
night.

Bear Mountain lean-to
to now,

I hit

upon

a plan which would save

me much

bother at

Up

during the night,

when

had been forced to move around and replenish my fire whenever
the weather was cold, I
it

burnt low.
I

Now

it

occurred to

me

to build
fire,

a kind of skid leading

down

to the

on

which
a

could pile small logs of

wood

in such
it

way
I

that,

when one

log burnt out,
skid.

would

release another log

on the

made

the slanting skid with sticks leaning

from upright, crotched sticks, and, much to my delight, the scheme worked well. One night, when I had piled the wood careBut in the lessly, the whole pile took fire. long run the skid was a successful device. I had spent nearly a whole week in the forest. I was perfectly well and fairly comfortable, though I still had no clothes of any kind. More than anything else, I missed the sound However, my first Sunday, of a human voice. which would be the next day, was to bring me company.

< s
'A

CHAPTER

IV

THE RESCUE OF THE FAWN
Sunday in the forest any other day. On this first Sunday
is

just

the

same as
I

of

my

experiment

did one thing which I had not done before.

When
on

I

remembered

to

make

the day's

my

calendar stick,

instead

straight line beside the other six

mark of making a which marked

the previous days, I scratched a cross like the

Roman numeral
it

ten.

This cross signified that

was Sunday and the end of my first week. As I made my way down to the spring early that morning I knew it was Sunday morning, and the thought came to me of how little churches would be needed if everyone knew and understood nature. Nature is, in truth, a
religion in herself.

At the spring I took a long draft of water, and as I lay there drinking I caught sight of my image upon the mirror-like surface. I saw a naked I certainly was wild looking. man with disheveled hair and a scraggly
51

52

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

growth of beard. I wondered if my mother could have seen me just then whether she would have recognized me. Everything was very still all about me. Occasionally the cry of a bird would be heard, but that was all. While I had been a bit depressed the night before, a good rest had made my spirits rise
again.

scooped up handfuls of the water and It was dashed it over my face and body.
I

and brought a glow to my skin. I felt strong enough to pull up a tree by the roots. I was far stronger than I was the day I entered the forest. Certainly the experiment was aiding me physically, thus far.
deliciously cool,
I

knew

this

by the way

I felt.

If

a

man
it.

is

all

right he feels all right.

When

he doesn't
for

feel just right there is

some reason

went back to my lean-to, stirred up the I there thinking for awhile. fire, and sat wasn't particularly hungry, so I didn't eat anything just then, although I had a plentiful supply of smoked trout and dried berries on hand. I never had any regular time for meals.
I

I just ate

when

I felt that I

needed to

eat.

By

the light around

me

I could tell that it

RESCUE OF THE FAWN
must be a
judged
it

53

bit

cloudy, though

there

among
I

the thick trees I could not see the sky.
to be

about

six o'clock.

of wood, There which protruded from a fallen tree. were still some unused strips of cedar bark in one side of my lean-to, so I made up my

The day before I had injured slightly by stepping on a sharp piece

my

foot

mind

to try

my hand

at a pair of moccasins.

Using the heaviest of the bark, I wove a sort of foot-covering. As I wove, I fitted them to my I know I had a better fit than thousands feet. of civilized women who walk about the city streets in shoes with high heels and pointed ends which squeeze their toes all out of shape. For ties, I wove in strands of bark, which I tied over my instep. They were clumsy to

walk

in at

first,

but

I

soon got used to them,
for

and they were a protection
several pairs.

my

feet. I

made

While
I

I

was

finishing off

my

first

moccasins,

heard a rustle in the bushes down by the spring. I peered through the trees and saw
a red deer going down to drink. I made a slight motion, and immediately her head shot

She had seen me. watched her a moment, and then, as if not interested, I went on with my work. After
up.
I

54

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
time
I lifted

a short

my

again toward the spring.

head and looked She was still gaz-

ing straight at me, standing transfixed.

back,

Then I beheld an interesting thing. Farther some distance in the open timber, was a white fawn, as immovable as her The fawn was a little beauty. So mother.
did

still

she

stand

that

she

looked

as

if

she were chiseled out of pure white marble.
I

turned back to

my

work

again, but I

saw

the red deer

move

slowly on to the spring.

The
As

little

white fawn, however, did not budge.

I

looked again at the old doe, she scarcely

paid any attention to me.

She knew that

I

would not harm
quite so sure.

her.

But the fawn wasn't
old lady?" I

"How

are

you

this morning,

shouted down to her.

Up

shot her head like

a flash. The fawn wheeled about, and bounded back a few paces; then, seeing she was not pursued, turned again and became once more
statuesque.

aren't scared of me, are you?" I went on. Then I turned away my head and

"You

made

believe I

was very busy.

Presently the

Then she leisurely animal began drinking. joined the fawn, and together they disappeared. At almost exactly the same time the next

RESCUE OF THE FAWN

55

morning the pair appeared at the spring again. As before, the deer watched me closely for awhile, with one ear forward and the other backward. The white fawn kept closer to its mother to-day. As the days went on, they came with marked And it got so I could walk about regularity. the camp and talk with them while they drank and fed around the spring. They were great company! The white fawn was a beautiful creature. Such animals are freaks of nature, and are the most persecuted
inhabitants of the forest.
color
is

Their conspicuous

a mark for every other animal of the

woods, as well as for the hunter.

The

regularity with which animals
is

come

to

places like this

most remarkable. In the days that followed, I had many interesting conversations with these woodland Even the white fawn had grown creatures.
There
these
describe
is

used to me.

something
I

more

to

tell

about
to

animals, but just at present I

want

how
it

obtained a welcome change

in

my

diet.

had rained, on and off; but Tuesday it began to clear and get colder. I left my lean-to early in the morning on another

Monday

5Q

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
I

exploring expedition.
least resistance,

followed the
off

trail

of

striking

occasionally into
off

the tangles and deadfalls to cut

a bit, and
trail,

then winding back to the same game which I knew turned in that direction.
I

When
I

say

''I
it

knew"

I

do not mean that
I

had

seen

before.

But

could

tell

a

trail

would swing to the right

or

when such left by the

lay of the land.

Everything was wet about me. The woods So thick were of a heavy, black growth. were the trees that I could see but a short distance up the slope of the mountain on my
left.

made another turn in the trail, which led down a little incline toward another spring.
I

caught sight of a fox slinking off into the bushes just beyond the spring. I gave a little squeak to try to bring him back; but he was
I

too far ahead.
spring,
I I

So

I

kept on down to the

where

I rested

on a

fallen log.
it.

picked a spruce bud and began to chew

ing

chewed buds and barks a great deal durmy two months in the wilderness; and I feel sure that for this reason alone I was able to
go for long periods without eating solid food.

There is unquestionably a nourishment in these things.

great
I

deal

of

chewed the

RESCUE OF THE FAWN
alder, cedar, maple, birch,

57
of the

and the bark

mountain
atable.

ash.

which were tender and palEveryone knows what goldthread is. It is There was a lot of this in the woods. nourishing and healing for the mouth. Sitting there on that fallen tree, I was sudI also ate roots

denly aroused by another rustle in the leaves.
It

was a spruce partridge.

I

had seen parthis bird.

tridges
I

many
it

times before.

knew

would be easy to catch
partridge
is

The spruce
woods.
It

the tamest bird in the

is

easy to catch them.

They seem

so stupid

that a

man

can nearly walk over
flight.

them before they take
While
I realized the

chances of going over
to get

and picking him up were remote,
another almost sure

way

knew of him. I made
I

a slip-noose of cedar lining bark, attached this
to the end of a stick, and cautiously approaching the tree on which the partridge was

perched,
front
of

I

carefully

held

the

noose out in

him.

He moved
he
it

to one side,

but

made no
intently.

effort to fly

aroused, and

away. His curiosity was began to watch the noose
a
little

As

I

brought

nearer, without the

slightest hesitation the bird stretched his

neck

58

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
and ran
his

head into the noose and was caught. There is nothing new in this method. Every old woodsman and guide understands the procforward
ess.

y

During the weeks that followed, I killed with my bow and arrow. I made some arrows out of hornbeam slivers. Then I ground some small stones into arrowheads, and lashed them on to the notches on
several partridges

the ends of the sticks with cedar strands.

On the other end of the arrow I put feathers from the blue heron. These feathers made the direction of the arrow true. Altogether I got about ten birds during the experiment by means of the noose and my bow and arrow. As soon as I got back to my Bear Mountain camp that night I got busy at once with my first partridge. I hadn't eaten that day and was very hungry. Since coming back to civilization, someone has asked me if I did n't have difficulty in picking the bird clean. I had to laugh at that. A partridge doesn't have to be
picked!

To

prepare
to

a
is

partridge
to

for

roasting,

all

you have

do

make

three

movements

THE DEER AND THE WHITE FAWN. A SKETCH MADE IN THE WOODS BY THE AUTHOR ON BIRCH BARK, WITH BURNT STICKS FROM HIS FIRES

RESCUE OF THE FAWN
of the
First,

59

hand; in fact, one movement will do it. you take hold of the back and breast of the bird and tear it in two. In one hand you will find the breast and legs, and in the other a lot of skin and feathers. Pull the skin down over the body and throw it away. Having disposed of the back, head, and entrails, you will have left the legs and breast, ready
for roasting.

After I had done this I raked over

my

fire,

and placed the bird on a crotch stick to roast. In spite of having no salt, that partridge tasted better by far than anything else I had had to eat in the woods. I have mentioned the lack of salt several times already, but haven't gone into details

about

its
it

not affecting me.
greatly, but purely

I

missed

it,

and missed

table standpoint.

The

lack of

from a palait seemed to

have absolutely no effect upon my physical condition. I did n 't really need it. From what I observed, I should say that the use of salt is nothing more than a habit. It is used, in my opinion, not because the system needs it, but because it makes food taste better.
Animals, in their natural haunts, are forced
to go without salt indefinitely.
greediness,
I believe their
it

when they do

find

in the salt-

60

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
due to the taste rather than to the
it.

licks, is

actual need of

The
in the

eating of that partridge had

mood

for work.

I

put me took out some sheets

of birch bark,

the

fire

and sitting there in the light of began to write my diary, in which I
interesting incidents of the day.
little forest

jotted

down
I

Then

sketched a

scene on a piece

and afterwards the picture of a young doe I had seen jumping over a log. I would have given a great deal to have my canvas and oil tubes. I missed them greatly.
of fungus,

However,
at

I

could get along without them, for
in

everything actually needed for art was right

hand there
it.

the woods,

go after

I finally
is

would but did hunt up some artists'
if

I

materials; but this

for a later chapter.

The

following
of

day

was

Wednesday,

the
I

thirteenth

August, and
that day.
I
all

my
It

birthday.

shall never forget

was one

of

the hardest of
It

spent in the forest.
of

was hard because

the memories that

passed in endless array across
those pictures of

my

mind.

With

my mother and my early which I have already told you about, came memories of other birthdays of recent years, when splendid suppers and jolly fellows had been all about me.
life,

RESCUE OF THE FAWN
I don't

61

suppose in the history of civilized man there was ever quite such a birthday. There was no one to speak to but the red
deer with her
little

white fawn, and the other

small

animals which came near

my

lean-to

in search of food.
I

simply lost myself in that whirl of past

recollections,
friends,

and yearned

for

my

folks,

my
he

and the world.

A

primitive
to.

man
if

can be sentimental

if

wishes

Even
he

he had never had the

outside world memories with which to

make
to

comparisons
that

would find

much
worlds.

close

nature and in the hearts of animals to create

mood which has moved

Finding these thoughts were getting the best The sun had arisen of me, I threw them off.
high in the heavens.
It

was time

for

me

to

be moving. Armed with birch-bark reports and sketches
I started for the

cache on the outskirts of

my
to

domain, where
cache was
I

I

had made arrangements
only to two guides,

leave such things for the outside world.

This

known

who came

there once a

week at sundown.
it

always made

a point to visit the cache

early in the day, so I would be far

away by

the time the guides arrived for the birch bark

62
I

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
left.

was located in the twisted roots of a blown-down spruce. No message was ever put in for me. I had given orders to the guides not to do this, impressing upon them that anything whatever left for me would spoil my plan of keeping
secret hiding place

had

The

absolutely out of touch with civilization.

Some days
call

I

felt
off;

ready to come out and
critical

everything

but at those

times

something within me came to my rescue; and I continued to stay. The nights which followed my trips to the cache were always hard for me. It was mental torment to remain there alone in the wilderness.
ing.

The

physical side was absolutely noth-

The
I

rest of that birthday

was uneventful.

gathered some more berries, but saw nothing

of particular interest.

In

fact,

there

was nothing worth writing

the fifteenth of August. about until Friday On that morning, as usual, my friends, the red deer and the white fawn, had paid me their
daily
visit.

Soon after breakfast I went after some birch bark down at Spencer Lake. I had crossed the Spencer Trail and was following the western shore when I heard something ahead of

RESCUE OF THE FAWN

63

me. Looking through the bushes I saw a deer and a fawn feeding. I was just about to speak to them when I saw a wild-cat sneaking along a log which hung over the water. I stood still and watched. The cat was watching the deer, although evidently it did n't see me, for in a moment it backed down the log to the shore again and sneaked off

through the bushes. When I looked toward the place where the deer had been I discovered that they had
gone.

On my way

I forgot

about the incident.

Farther oh my eye was attracted to a hawk which was flying in wide circles above the The enormous bird would occasionally lake. flap his great wings a few times, hang for a moment in midair, then sail around on moI thought of tionless, outstretched wings.
the aeroplane as the bird soared aloft.
All at once a

behind
the
before.

scream — an unearthly scream — brought down my attention from me
I

skies.

never

heard a

scream

like

it

As I ran back in the direction of the sound, it came again, this time to my right. I turned and went in that direction. After a time I heard it once more, louder and more terrifying than before, and apparently on the left

64
side
of

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
me.

There was

something

horrible

about it! Continuing to the left I found a spruce blowI jumped upon the trunk, and walked down. along listening. I caught a sound from the
foliage at the farther end.

Presently through the fallen tree-tops I saw

two
I

eyes.

They disappeared

in a second.

Again

heard the rustle under the tree-tops lying on the ground, and jumping down I rushed around to one side. There lay the little fawn

on

its side,

panting and bleeding.
to help her to her feet the

As

I

drew nearer

up and ran a few paces. But her strength was gone and she staggered and fell. I looked around for the mother deer, but she was nowhere to be seen.
frightened creature staggered

In a few seconds the little creature scrambled to her feet and staggered into the thicket. I had arrived in time to see the wild-cat

measuring the distance between the fawn and the thicket beyond. Going on through the trees I reached the
shore of Spencer again.

The

first

thing that

eye there was the mother deer and the fawn swimming the narrows. They disappeared in the woods on the opposite shore.

caught

my

CHAPTER V
TRAPPING A BEAR

That night

it

was colder than

usual.

I

began to realize that, sooner or later, I would be forced to break the game laws and get some
sort of skins for protection.

During the day, while I was on the move, I really didn't need anything on my body. In fact, through the entire trip, even up to the very last day, I went around the forest,
rain or shine, absolutely naked.
I did

But

at night

need something for a covering. also time for me to be thinking about what I should wear when I came back to
It

was

civilization.

I I

could

scarcely return
I

to

the

world naked!

thought of the deer
lost.

had obsigns of

tained and then

In

my

wanderings

I

had seen many

bears.

Once, in the burnt lands, I saw three

feeding on the berries, shortly after the deer
episode.

A

bearskin would

mean much

to me.

Then,

too, I could utilize the sinew

and meat to good

advantage.
66

66

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
'A

man
he

little
is

until

dreams v/hat he can accomplish put to the test. I fully believe
coupled

that

necessity,

with

determination

and confidence, makes

failure impossible.

From

the

first

moment

the idea of getting a

bear came into
trap one.
I

head I felt confident I could went over in my mind various ways I might make the attempt, and when morning came I had my plan all mapped
carefully
out.

my

friends,

didn't even wait that day to see if my the red deer and white fawn, would come to the spring. I was all bear now, and
I

was anxious
trap.

to

get

to

work constructing a

For over an hour
for

walked about searching a suitable spot and finally found the right
I

place.

A

deadfall

to build a combination pit
after the plan of the

was impractical, so my plan was and deadfall, much
Indian

way

of

trapping

grizzly bears in the west.

in

Digging a pit meant a lot of work. I started by loosening the ground with sharp pointed It was slow stones and hornbeam sticks.
work, but
I I

made some

progress, scooping the

earth out with

flat shale

from

ledges.

worked

for several hours that day, return-

TRAPPING A BEAR
ing to

67

my

partially excavated hole the next
setting to work.
I

day and again
I

don't

know how many hours

worked

might have been ten or fifteen I kept at it. Once during the digging I thought I should have to give up that spot, for I came across some heavy rock and buried, petrified wood. It took the most arduous labor to dislodge that rock and chip my way through the wood until I found earth again. At last the hole was large enough to hold a bear, being about three and a half or four

on that

pit; it

during the two or three days

feet deep.
I

one on each side bedded two logs scooped from the hole. the earth I had
I

— in

next

made

a kind of deadfall over the pit

with logs and sticks, covering this with rocks
I

had taken out

of the hole.

Then

I set a spindle trip,

which resembled
This spinarranged the bait

the figure four, under the deadfall.
dle I baited with stale fish.
I

quite high up so that the bear would have to

stand on his hind legs to get

it.

The
with

trap was done at last, and I was pleased

it.

The covering loaded with rocks
curely just inside the bed logs.

fitted se-

This would

68

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
it

make

impossible to

move

the top from side

to side

when once

it

was down.
but the next

I did n't get a bear that night,

night as I passed by the pit I thought I heard

a rustle as if some animal were moving away from the trap. I did n't go any nearer, because through the trees I could just make out the slant of the roof. It had n't been sprung
yet.

The next night

I

''looked" the trap and

found a bear in it. While I had been confident all along that I would be able to land a bear, there was more or
less surprise

attached to the capture of this one.
to the side of the pit I saw,

Coming up

through the roof-cover, a young bear, making every effort to get out. '' This is great luck, " I said to myself. " Everything is coming my way." There would be the skin, and the meat, and I began to think of everything about the animal I could use. I made up my mind that he must not get

away from me.
feelings just then.

I can't describe I

to

you

my

thing like those of a miser

imagine they were somewhen there is a
to

possibility of his losing his gold.

At that time the bear was worth more

me

than

all

the gold in the world.

TRAPPING A BEAR

69

Considering the situation carefully I found that I would have to break away some of the

But I had to be careful not to break away too much, so I made an aperture just big enough for him
lashing in order to get at the animal.
to stick his head out.

Before doing this I got a hornbeam club,

which
I

I held in readiness.

came the nose of the made a vicious swing and missed him.
Presently out

bear.

My

presence so enraged the animal that he struggled

Again around trying frantically to escape. his head came up through the torn place in the cover, and this time I landed squarely on
top of
it!

But you can't
the head.
I

by hitting him over You must strike him on the nose.
kill

a bear

knew

that,

and

just waited

my

chance.

As I looked down at him a feeling of pity came over me at the method I was forced But how else could I do it? Pretty to use. I swung soon he stuck out his front paws. and hit themx. With a cry of pain he pulled them back.
Keeping my eyes on the bear every minute backed away to a tree and broke off a small Returning to the limb covered with leaves.
I

trap I tore

away another

lashing.

70

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
With

my

left

hand

I

began to dangle the

leaves on the end of the branch in his face, to
divert his attention so that I could deliver a

blow with the
out.
I

club.

In his anger a good part of his nose came

swung

my

club, landing

on the side

of the bear's nose.

The animal toppled over
still.

in the pit

and lay perfectly
of
I

Knowing bears
stick.

chances even then.

any prodded him with the There was no question about it he
old I did not take

was dead! It had been pretty strenuous work,
decided to put
creature
until
off

so

I

the task of

skinning the
I

the next

day.

knew what
It

that would

mean without any

knife!

would
I

take

me

hours to complete the work.
in the forest.

Catching that bear was the biggest thing

had yet accomplished
I

think every
a
bit

man who
bigger

has accomplished

something
things of

than the ordinary his daily routine has a right to feel
is

proud.

It

a part of his reward.
of luck at-

However, there was a great deal
tached to

my

catching that bear.

Anyway

I

I was pleased beyond measure. The red deer and the little white fawn came up to my spring the next morning.

had him, and

TRAPPING A BEAR

71

By
the
I I

seven o'clock I was at the trap again.
I

On

way couW

picked up the sharpest-edged rocks find, throwing away those I had as
across better ones.

These rocks are surprisingly sharp, and abound everywhere in
this

came

region.

I

was ready
of

for a

hard day's work.

Pulling
side

away

the covering, I broke
of the bear, raising

down

the

the pit and forced a couple of logs

under the body

him

slightly.

/wo
/

I

should estimate that he weighed close to

hundred pounds. By getting a good hold and tugging and hauling I managed to drag him up the side of the pit I had just broken down. Then I rolled him over on his back. I would have given anything for a knife just then! In its place I took one of the sharp rocks and began sawing back and forth on the inside of one of his hind legs.
After

a

seemingly

endless

time

the

hair

began to curl up under the rock. It worked hard at first, but by putting all my muscle back of it I finally broke the skin. Not until later had I worked down the hind legs, up the stomach, and then up and

down

the inside of the front legs.
it

While

was a crude piece

of work, the skin

was now ready to be taken

off.

7'i

ALONi: IN
I

11

IK

WII.DKHNKSS
mil.

was

liri'd al'U-r linisliiii}^ (his si

A few

moiiitnls' rest
for

and
(ujj;).i;c(l
it

I

hours
to

1

ti\in;!;

i(Mn()\'(':

was at work ugaiii. Tlum and pulled al that skin from the (artass. Alterrestinj^

nately workim; and
I

for

short

periods,
I

took hold of the skin with one hand whiK>
it

lippi'd

awa\'

from

the

llesh

by

serapinj^

betwi'en the two with

the

sluirpcsL

stones i

had.

Oi eourse, ((nantities
llu'

of nu^at

eaini> olf

with
for
1

skin,
1

hut

That
S(

tlidn'L
it

hothiM-

me

kiu'w

could
until

rape
in
I

olT latiM".
llu"

Not
1)\'

late

afttMUoon
that
to

iud|;in|j;

the

Sim

did

linally pull

skin en-

tii'eU'

off.

And

I

had stalled

wtuk about

se\'en

that

inorniu!;!
\(M\' far

As Lost Tond was uoi
IkhI

from wheri'
i;o
t

1

made

the trap

I

dei idiul

to

heri\

and
in

afleiwaids to
(hat
vicinity.
I

my

Inst

lean to,

whieh was

!''irst

sawed
hi-ar

oil"

with

\\\y

roek

a.

larj;e i>or-

tion of llu>

meat
tlu^

for

ft>od,

^atherini; the

sinew.

vSlinj:;in,u;
1

meat

and skin over

my

shoulder,
1

started for c;uni>.
1

eonfi'ss

was

])retly

nuuh

"all in"
wer^^
in

when

arrivi'd at the pond. My hands and seratehed, and every nuisele anil aims aehed.
1

erampecl

my baek

TRAITINC; A BEAR

7:5

Throwing the skin and meat down on the The l)ath was shore F i)lunjj;(Ml into the; water.
very refreshing; me.
After
I
it

made
I

came out

new man out of kiy down in the sun
a

to rest.

The beavers were busy over on the dam, and watched them a long time. With visions of an early bed I went back into the woods in the direction of my lean-to, where I built a new lire and ate i^ujvper of (h'ied berries and smoked trout, which I had previously stored away for just such an emer1

gency.

soundly that niglit. morning the first thing I determined to do was to get that skin into some sort of condition. I laid it out on some cedar logs and fleshed it clean, by scraping it off with rocks and j)uliing it over tlie logs. Next I took a sheet of Ijirch bark and made
I slept

In

tiie

a water-tight dish,

l-'illing

this with water, 1

threw in some small ])ieces of rotten wood,

and
bark

began to
dish will

steej)

it

over

tlie

fire.

A

bir(

li

never burn l)eh)w
the

thi;

water

line.

spread the bear-liide

had steei)ed enough I on the ground, with the hair side down, and poured the li(|uid from the birch-bark dish upon it. By repeating
mixture
flat

When

74
this

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
process
several

times

the

skin

became
I
dis-

tanned to a certain extent. A thorough drying was needed now. singled out two saplings about the proper
tance apart, and, stretching the skin as
as I could, I laced
it

much

to the slender trunks with

cedar bark.

had yet to work the skin and make it and soft. Off and on ^ worked on that hide for about three days. During those days I walked back to the trap and brought the remainder of the meat to my camp. Tearing with the grain, I ripped the meat into strips with my hands, roasting some for immediate use, and putting the rest in the smoke hole. I used quantities of dirty wood in this smoking process, as I could get up a lot of smoke that way. This smoked meat was n't particularly pleasing to look at, but it would keep and was nourishing. While this was not the first time I had ever trapped a bear in my life, it was the first time I had ever eaten any of the meat. In my years of experience as a guide I had anihunted and trapped all kinds of game mals and birds. never eaten a But I had pound of wild meat in my life, because I never
I

pliable

TRAPPING A BEAR
liked
it

75

particularly.

In fact, I had never

eaten

much
I
it

fresh meat.

Now
relish
I

was compelled to eat
a bit; but, after I
felt stronger,

didn't devoured some,
it.

I

always

and knew that

it

was

just

what

I

needed.

Aside from the comfort of having that bearskin to throw over
of food I

me

at night,
I

and the supply
in the

had obtained,

had secured
lining

sinews of that creature a lasting cord for
fire-kindler.

my
the

The
it

inner

bark

of

cedar, while

had answered the purpose
It

after

a fashion, was not the best thing for sawing

wore out too quickly. \/^ With the sinew string I would not have to use any care for fear of its breaking. I could work the bow with all my strength, and the cord would not be affected in any way, pro-

back and

forth.

ducing the friction in

much

less time.

There is no known substance for sinew that can equal its toughness and lasting qualities. The Indians have a way of chewing it and stripping it into thin fibers, which they use as thread to sew moccasins and rawhide. I hadn't reached the sewing stage just yet. Since I had trapped the bear something had been prowling around my camp at night. I could tell by the sound that it wasn't a

76

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
it

very large animal, but as

became curious

to see

what

it

kept coming I might be.
in

First I thought that the

meat

my

lean-to

might have attracted a wild-cat. Then the idea of a bear cub came into my mind. Anyway, I was bound to find out just what it was, so one night, just before getting ready to turn in, I let my fire burn pretty low and sat up watching for some signs of the visitor. On the other nights the sound of crackling twigs had always come just after my fire had

burned
ered

out.

Scarcely had the last glimmer of

my fire flick-

away when, off in the darkness to my I had alright, came the expected sound. most dozed off as I sat there, but I woke up
quickly and listened.
Straining

my

eyes in the direction of the

noise I could barely

make out

the outline of

was impossible to tell what it was, but I knew it was dark colored. As if suddenly switched on by an unseen electric current, two balls of light flashed in the darkness. The creature was looking at me too! The fire was between us, and as a

some animal.

It

lazy flame sputtered a

moment

before fading

away
light

I

could see the reflection of

the

fire-

dancing in those eyes!

TRAPPING A BEAR
Presently
the
eyes

77
I

disappeared.
it

seized

a smouldering brand, and, fanning

into flame,

rushed toward the spot.
I

was on the
fell

right track, sure enough, for
it

I

nearly

over whatever

was.

so slow in getting

away

that I

was managed to
It

between the dying fire and me. I was now convinced that the animal was a bear cub by the way it acted. Through the dim light from my brand, which was already burning low again, I saw that the creature was black. I could n't see clearly enough to determine the head and hind; but I felt sure that my company was a clumsy young bear. My first thought was to catch him alive. The little fellow made a sudden turn and almost dodged past me, but I hurled the brand at him and drove him back toward the fire. He was literally between two fires! As the brand struck the ground it went out. With that the animal turned and ran directly toward me. Again he tried to rush by me, but I jumped in front of him and stopped him with my legs.
get
it

again, but in a different supposed bear cub had turned out to be a hedgehog, and for some moments I was fully occupied removing quills from
I

Then

jumped

direction!

My

78

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
legs.

my

My

bark chaps were ample protec-

tion against briers and brush, but not against
quills
of

hedgehogs.

My
well.

third

week

in the wilderness

drawing to a
I

close.

Physically I

was already was perfectly

had plenty of food and a comfortable But mentally I was suffering. bearskin. It was terribly lonesome!

CHAPTER

VI

THE MENTAL VERSUS THE PHYSICAL
Since I have

come back

to civilization hun-

dreds of people, with real sympathy in their
voices,

have said to me, ''How you must have

suffered!"

In every instance they referred to physical
suffering.

They imagined themselves out

in

the dark woods, alone, and cold, and without

any clothing. They thought of eating nothing but berries and roots, and with fertile imaginations, colored

up by extreme contrasts between wilderness life and the life of civilization, no doubt, conjured up quite terrible

pictures in their minds.

They were
to

all

wrong.

I did not experience

any physical

suffering

speak

of,

though

I

did suffer greatly in

another way.

was purely mental and a hundredfold worse than any physical
suffering

My

suffering I experienced.

Before I entered the forest I had never given
a serious thought to the mental side of the
79

80

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
I

wanted to get away from the sham side of modern life, and from people. I looked forward to being alone, where I could have a chance to think out various problems
question.

without

interruption.

It

never

occurred

to

me

that I might be lonely.

In past years I had often been in the woods
alone, though, to be sure, not for very long

In those days the solitude would at a time. be broken by the appearance of some chance hunter, once in a while, and my talking with him would break the monotony until someone

came along. But here alone in the wilderness day after day without the sound of a human voice, or the contact of a human being, and the knowledge that there wouldn't be either for two whole months, it was very different. The complete isolation got on my nerves. It was far harder for me than it was for the original primitive man. He not only had his own kind about him, but he knew nothing of any other life than the one he was leading. I always had a comparison before me. The only thing which really puzzled me before I went into the woods was whether or
else

not I could stand the cold without clothes.

Afterwards this side of the question was a

MENTAL VERSUS THE PHYSICAL

81

mere nothing compared with the mental torment I had completely overlooked. Every night at twilight my mind would begin tormenting

me

with memories.

I

used to

force myself to fight off these

moods by sketch-

ing with charcoal

on birch bark and doing

other things.

The
of

torture always
friends

commenced with

pictures

into
I

my my

and those I loved best coming

mind.
in

My
of

heart was with them.
as their faces rose

would dream

them

before

me

the firelight.

When

finally

I

dropped off into a troubled sleep, I would keep right on seeing them in my dreams. Time and again those mental spells were almost too much for me. At those times I would vow that I would leave the forest on the very next day. I remember, sitting there before my fire, more than once the human thought would come to me, ^'You are doing something that no other man has ever done." And like a schoolboy who has received one hundred per cent in his lessons I yearned for someone to tell me that I was doing well! This is somewhat of a confession, but it is true and I know
the reader will understand.

When

I

made my bow out

of a rude big

82
stick,

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

and through the burning process worked out the weapon, I wanted to show it to someone and tell how I had made it with just fire and a stone. Iwentually I would always get back to normal by acknowledging to myself that any man with stuff in him could do everything I certainly was n't going to conI was doing.
fess to

myself that
fears,

I

lacked "stuff!"
all

A man
quitter.

above

else,

being called a

things he never

Through that fear he accomplishes dreamed he could accomplish.
I

Therefore,

maintain, that to a certain extent

vanity and pride are good assets for a
have.

man

to

Again and again the thought would come to me that some people who didn't understand anything about the woods would doubt some of the things I had done, simply because they had never heard of such things before. Folks never doubt the things they know about. It was really nothing to get along in the woods. Everything I needed was there, and I knew

how
I

to get

it.

made no
but

deliberate plan for
let

my

daily exitself.

istence,
I

each day take care of
of the forest,
I.

was simply a part

and as the

forest thrived so did

O o

IM

w H O

/,

'h^

"

MENTAL VERSUS THE PHYSICAL

83

whole fight was to stay there alone in the wilderness two full months. Once more I want to emphasize that the
physical suffering was nothing.

My

Such a

life

as I led could

have been duplicated
Elimi-

by

a child of ten of the primitive type.

nating the fear of the forest, even a modern

would not have suffered mentally as I did, for he would have had only the brain of a child and not the brain of a man. Had I possessed the brain of an animal I could have lived far more contentedly than I did with my own civilized power of thinking. An animal knows where and how to get
child

sustenance in the woods.

If

a forest creature

knows by

instinct,

couldn't a

with his higher intelligence

human being learn? And if a

human

being lived on and on in the woods,

wouldn't he be constantly learning more and more about them? In time would n't he eventually come to know what the animals know, and with his superior brains wouldn't he be
master
So,
of all

he surveyed?

you see, with that outside world continually coming back to haunt me I had a
fight

on

my

hands.
to myself,

is

Time and time again I said a chance to show that you

"Here

are a man.

84

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
Physically I was in the pink of condition,
I

and

knew
for

it.

All I

the mental side.
difficult

had Nothing

to contend with
in the forest

was

was too

me
it

to endure.
all

Any man, no matter what sort of a man, could go into Almost anyone could go through the woods. the process of removing his clothing. I knew that no one could freeze to death in the northern Maine woods in August or September. He would n't starve to death for three or four
I

reasoned

out this way.

days, perhaps longer.
I figured

out that

all

keep his head. Surely enough to hunt for a spring. Water alone Even a would keep him alive for ten days. child can pick berries, and it is not a very difficult problem to eat the berries one picks.
Berries will sustain a

man needed was to any man would know
a

man

for a long time.

Now when
to
lie

night

falls

anyone knows enough
If

down

if

he

is tired.

he

is

cold he will

instinctively get
his

circulation,

up and run around to increase which will soon make him
will

warm

again.

He

not catch cold

if

he keeps

going; in fact, he will unconsciously be putting

himself in fine condition.

Of course,

it

required some ingenuity and
fire

exertion to get a

and a skin

for covering

MENTAL VERSUS THE PHYSICAL
and
different kinds of food, but
if

85

still

all

these

were obtainable in the forest
after them.

one but went
I

Thinking

all this

over in

my mind

saw how

comparatively simple the physical side of the

experiment was.
It

was

far harder to obtain

mental food and
in despair.

comfort.
I

That was my battle. remember one night when I was

I sat looking dejectedly into the

fervently to myself

— ''This
I

— and

fire,

vowing

I

meant

it

just then

is

my
if

last night in this wilderness.

I don't care

my time
I

is

n't up.

Life

is

too

short to be spent voluntarily suffering the

way

am
"All

suffering."

was pessimistic about

everything.

my

life

long I have tried to do the very
I

best I

knew how,"

mused, ''and

it

has not
self-

been appreciated." There I was enveloping myself with
pity — a

wretched,
people

human

thing

to

do.

I

imagined
fool."

were laughing at me out there in the world and calling me a "crazy
So far as
I

was concerned
just as
I

I

had proved concan exist in the
the use

clusively to myself that a

man

wilderness

alone,

had claimed he

could before I went

in.

What was

86

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
any further to live out a had said I would? didn't care what the people said about
full

of torturing myself

certain time just because I
I

my
was

staying the
trivial

time out.

To me

that side

compared to the fact that I had actually lived weeks as I promised I would

live.

which was shortly after I had I made up my mind that I would go to King and Bartlett Camps and have the thing over the next day. Then I began to wonder what the sportsmen would say. Here is what I could imagine I heard them shout: ''You made a mighty good showing and we don't blame you for quitting before the two months were up!" They were bound to say that. Getting away from that "Quitting before the two months were up" was impossible out there in the civilized world. The world would never look at the value of what I had already proved by my life in the woods, but would grudgingly remember that I had quit before the stipulated time although that extra time, which meant such mental suffering to me, would probably add
night,

That

trapped the bear,

nothing to the intrinsic value of the experi-

ment.

Not what

I

had done but that

I

had quit

MENTAL VERSUS THE PHYSICAL
was bound
everyone.
failed to
I

87

to be foremost

In a

way
good.

it

minds of would mean that I had
in

the

make

all, and in an on some arduous physical work. This always was a great help, and brought me back to a normal state of mind. Day after day I would agree with myself to stick it out one day longer. Another night would come, with its terrible mental battle. ''Just one more day," I would say again; and thus the days went slowly by. Never before had I realized the wide gulf that lies between the primitive life our ancestors lived and the high plane of civilization reached by the world of to-day. The great complexity of modern life is best seen from the lowly state I was living in. The biggest temptation I ever had in my whole life came on the morning of August twenty-eighth. I was on my way to the spring and had just stepped out of a clump of bushes when I saw a real live human being kneeling down to get a drink. It was a man! I was so amazed that I could n't move. I was just about to turn away and dash back into the timber when he looked up and saw me.

did n 't like that thought at

effort to get rid of it started

88

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
He jumped back a me keenly. Then the man said,
little

and stood looking

at

of hesitating

"Hello, Joe," in a kind manner. I had never seen him before in my life and an almost overpowering desire came upon me to talk to him just a word or two with

another

human

being!

" It will be
ing through

all off

—it will be
I

all off

" kept sing-

my brain.

stood there

dumb

for a

second, then turned and went back into the

woods. There I peered through the trees and watched the man go off to the left and disappear.
I never

caught another glimpse of that
a

man

again until after I had come out of the forest.

He proved to be told me I was
bronze skin

Maine

guide.

Afterwards he
thing
in

a wild-looking

my

and scraggly beard.
than ever.
fire,

After seeing that one

worse for

me

human being it was How much easier it
shelter than

was

to find food,

and

mental

peace and contentment! Since getting my bearskin I had become obsessed with the idea that the

game wardens were

on my trail, and I worked myself up into a bitter frame of mind concerning them. But I want to confine this particular phase of my mental suffering to another chapter.

MENTAL VERSUS THE PHYSICAL
After seeing the

89

man

at the spring I hurried

back to
I

my camp

and made quick preparations

for getting out of that part of the country.
I had in my pack, including smoked fish, and a quantity of smoked and dried meat. Then I rolled up my bearskin, placed it on top of the load, and

put everything

dried berries,

started

down

the

trail.

Fearing

that

the

man might

tell

people

he had seen me in that vicinity I left a note for visitors on a tree close by the lean-to, announcing that I should not return there. Then with my head down I walked and walked for miles. don't know exactly I

where I slept that night in the forest, but it was somewhere with my back against a
tree.

threw up a shelter on the northwest side of Bear Mountain, which I used as a sort of headquarters for awhile.
I

The next day

Constantly being obliged

to

wage

battles

with myself there in the wilderness has meant
big things for me, which I keenly realize

now

that

it

is

all

over.

It

opened a new

line of

thought I had never followed before.

Among
I

other reflections alone in the woods

thought

how sympathy was wasted

out in

the civilized world, especially in regard to the

90

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
I

so-called poorer class.

made up my mind
experiences
re-

that

it

is

the middle class that suffers most.

The
had

middle-class family that

verses has a comparison of living
in

the

forest

— which

— just
it

as I

makes

harder

to bear.

Those who have known nothing but poverty all their lives do not have this comparison, for they never had anything to lose. Yet ninetenths of human sympathy goes their way
simply because the

human

being in comfortable

circumstances allows himself to judge the

man
own

and woman
plane.

living in poverty

from

his

This thought led
there
of
is

me on to admitting that contentment in some hovels the very poor than there is in some of the
more
real of

homes
If I

the wealthy.

could have had just one

human compan-

ion in the wilderness I would have been perfectly contented

world.

Human
know

away from the luxury of the companionship is the greatest

luxury I

of.

My
I

mind was starving! began to wander farther from
it

my

lean-to,

leaving

for

whole days.

On

rainy nights I crept into some thicket

to rest, while on fair ones I

would pick out

MENTAL VERSUS THE PHYSICAL
some
tree

91
close

and
I

curl

up on the ground
say,
''I'll

to the trunk.

Every day
just
for

would

stick

it

out

to-day."
trails I

Twice along the
carcass
of

had come upon the
in

a

deer,

which,
killed

each instance,
wild-cats.

had evidently been
in

by

But

both cases the skin was so badly decomposed that it was impossible to use any of it. A short time later I passed the body of A cat must have killed it a deer still warm. just as I approached, and was possibly hiding
near

me

in the thicket.

Here was an unexpected find! While it small deer it offered some sort of a skin, was a and every bit would help me now. I hunted around for the wild-cat but it was nowhere to be seen. Then I began to search for rocks with which to skin the animal, and presently finding some
I

commenced

to work.
is

Skinning a deer

a very different proposition
is it

from skinning a bear. Breaking the skin not so difficult, and when once it is broken
peels
off

very

easily.
off

After completing the task, I cut

what
it

venison I needed and hunted for a place to

camp.

I

really

dreaded the night now;

92

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
too

brought
I

many

thought-pictures
it.

of

the

outside world with

camped under the shelter of a big spruce blowdown that night. Having an extra skin and a fresh supply of meat helped me to decide to stick
it

out a

little

longer,

which

I did

before I

fell

asleep.

CHAPTER
WILDERNESS
While
I

VII

NEIGHBORS

always had an inherent love for wild animals my contact with them during

two months alone in the wilderness has made me love them even more. They were I was, in truth, one of them.

my

my

neighbors,

my

companions,

my

friends.

Their proximity meant
at the times

much

to me, especially
I

when

I

was most depressed.

even talked with them, and, in their own way, they talked back to me.
I felt confident that in six

months time every
'

creature in that particular part of the wilderness would have

known me and become
is

friendly.

There
animals.

is

a great deal to be learned from
are individually free,
please,

Discontentment

them.

They

unknown among go when

and where they
wish to do.
Discontent in

and do whatever they
as one of the

me had come
life.

results of a civilized

Men and women

of the
93

world are nothing

!

94

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

but animals called human beings a polite Fundamentally they are name, that is all. no different from the animals that roam the woods. I felt myself very close to these wild creatures. I understood them because I was living among them, and had lived among them before.

Whenever
on one
the

I

chanced to come across a deer

of the trails, that deer

knew instinctively
or not I

moment

she saw

me whether
harm.

had

an idea

of doing her

She understood

me very quickly, and I understood her. That is why the red deer and the little white fawn
that

came

to

my

spring every morning were the forest that

such good

friends of mine.
in

There isn't an animal
does n 't want to

make

friends wdth

man

I had a flock of partridges in the woods so tame that two of them would actually follow

behind me on the trail. I used to laugh at them. They were jealous for fear one would Whenever get nearer to me than the other.
one would come quite close to

me

the other

would peck at him and drive him back. One morning I came across four or five of As these birds on the lower limb of a tree. I went closer and began talking to them

WILDERNESS NEIGHBORS

95

they daintily sidestepped on that limb for all the world like a lot of coquettish young

women.
Finally

touch them.
them.

my hand out and They knew that I would n't hurt Under such conditions I never caught
it

got so I could put

a partridge;
confidence.

it

would have been a breach

of

needed a bird for food I went hunting for one, but in such instances I never made
I

When

the bird feel that I was friendly.

Those partridges

I

was speaking about on

the lower limb of that tree wanted

me

to touch

them. They would playfully peck at my hand and dance coyly along the branch in a kind
of teasing

way, exactly as a

woman

says ''no"

when As

she means "yes."
to the deer

— they

will get so

tame that

they will come right up to your lean-to and
eat out of your hand. You cannot tame deer by going to them. Arouse their curiosity, and show that you will not harm them. While

they are
you.

still

curious they will never forget

and smell you, and their curiosity will bring them back. You don't have to go [near any wild or domestic animal to tame it. It will come to you and live with you and sleep with you. All
see

They

96

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
to

you have
curiosity,

do

is

simply to conceal your

own

n

Whenever you see a wild animal in the Let the woods go toward him carelessly. seen him, and creature know that you have
then suddenly change your course or do something to show that you aren't apparently
interested in him.
tion to him.

Pay

absolutely no atten-

He knows
own

that you saw

him and
never
afraid

yet went about your
ing
to

business without offerwill

harm him.
not

That animal

forget you.
It
of,
is

but the

man that the human scent.
standing
still

wild animal
If

is

a deer, for instance,

sees a

man
is

wind

blowing in

and the the wrong way for him to
in the forest,

catch the scent, he thinks the

man

is

a part of

the forest just like a log or a tree; but the

minute he catches the scent he is on the alert. Perhaps in his own life the human scent has meant danger to him. On the other hand, while it may never have bothered him, the human scent may have meant injury to some of his forbears and so he naturally inherits the
instinctive
fear.

animal can analyze the man. He can instinctively read a man's character by his smell. This is the

However,

in

that

scent,

the

WILDERNESS NEIGHBORS
reason
the

97

why moment

a deer will

fly

he gets his

from one person scent, while he will

stand by and watch out of curiosity another

man who means him no harm.
I greatly deplore the

wrong teachings about

the woods and animals given the child of to-day.

True, the popular fairy tale develops the imagination along certain lines, but this imagi-

nation does more
is

harm than good where nature

concerned in such stories. In fairy tales the woods are always deep, dark forests. Giants and witches live there.

The

child learns to fear the woods, especially

at night.

The average young child who heard a hootowl screech from the depths of a dark forest would shriek with terror. To him the sound
would mean witches and goblins and gnomes and other horrible things. In reality that poor little hoot-owl would only be predicting the coming of a storm!
After a child gets through hearing stories

out of animal books he will cry out, "Don't go into the woods. There's probably a wildcat up in a tree and he'll pounce down on youl" the one idea left in his mind being fear.

Nature is the source from which we live and move and have our very being. Liberty

98
is

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
the foundation of good government.

Yet

it is

as important that the child be taught to

know and

value nature as

it is

that he

mem-

orize the national

anthem

of his

country and

pledge allegiance to the

flag.

Nowhere does liberty exist so strongly as among the animals and in the heart of nature. From wilderness life to the simple country life,
and then up through the
life

of a great city

liberty gradually decreases.

"At

gold's superior
sell it

The needy

charm all freedom flies, and the rich man buys."

The top-notch

of society

has the least liberty
foot to a

in the world, being
rigid social code.

bound hand and

Instead of frightening a child with visions
of giants,

why

animal in
attack a
will

him that there is not an the north woods that will voluntarily
not
tell

attack him?

Of course a bear with a cub
if

will

man

she

is

molested;

if

let

alone she

run away in peace. Deer and moose never fight unless cornered.
the wild-cat will slink

Even

away

to the under-

brush at the sound of a man's footfall. A hunger-enraged wolf will never dare approach
a
fire.

Fire

is

protection from any animal.

All kinds of dogs will

come up

to me.

They

WILDERNESS NEIGHBORS
seem to know
friend.
I

99

instinctively that I

am
is,

their
I

don't care

how

cross a

dog

can

readily

make
is

friends with him.

an interesting thing about a cross tells someone else that a man named Smith has a cross dog. When that someone else passes Smith's house the dog comes out and barks at him and he immediately becomes terror-stricken. If the man had felt no fear, and paid no attention to him, that dog would have stopped barking. The mere ignoring of the animal would have created an abnormal curiosity in his dog-mind and he would have begun to sniff around the man's legs. Even then, if I were that man, I would not have talked to that dog. I would have been absolutely indifferent toward him, and he would immediately have realized that I was his master. Don't think for a moment that you can say to any ugly dog "Nice doggy" in a voice that is quavering with fear and get away with it! The dog won't pay any attention to the "nice doggy" part, but he will scent that fear. There was one saucy chipmunk that used to come and visit me daily at my Bear Mountain lean-to. He would chatter with me, fill his chops with bits of food, and scurry away to bury them. Sometimes he would come
There
dog.

Someone

100

ALONE

m

THE WILDERNESS

around three or four times a day. He paid no more attention to me, as far as being afraid of me was concerned, than as if I were not there. One day, while I was cooking some trout, I heard an awful disturbance around the back of my lean-to. I investigated, and found a furious battle going on between a red squirrel and my friend the chipmunk. The big red squirrel had trespassed on the chipmunk's stamping ground, and, of course, that would never do. It was a dreadful fight for little fellows to be engaged in. Around and around they tore, through the leaves, under the tangle, over fallen trunks, up the trees and down again. Occasionally they came together, and then nothing could be seen but one flying ball of fur. Getting apart again, they would rest a second, panting, before resuming the contest. Swish! They were at it again, and another wild scene would be repeated. In the end that spunky little chipmunk actually beat the red squirrel and drove him off! After that the red squirrel used to come around every day, and from a distance would scream and scold at the chipmunk (the

red squirrel has

a

sort

of

bark).

Then he

would

see

me and
knew
I

begin to bark at

me

be-

cause he

was friendly with the chip-

WILDERNESS NEIGHBORS
munk.
At
this the

101

chipmunk came

right

up

to

around my feet, though I had never attempted to make friends with him. He made friends with me. I knew what went on in the minds of these

me and began

to play

Httle animals.

An
pened

incident comes to
in this

my mind

which hap-

very country, a bit farther north,

during

my

early trapping days.

One

spring morning,

some years

ago, another

trapper and I had our breakfast on the slope
of a mountainside.

We

were discussing the

day's work ahead of us.
After the meal he gave
trap and told
trail

me
it

a big steel bear

me

to take

along a certain

leading south until I
directed

Then he

me

to go

and look to the west.

came to a big ledge. up on to this ledge "There you will see a

big oak tree that you can't miss," he said,

"and
trap."

at the foot of that tree

bear house.
I

That

is

you will find a where you will set your

walked briskly along and presently came to the ledge he had spoken of. I climbed to the top, and, sure enough, there was the oak tree all right. I discovered the bear house, and starting toward it I beheld a spike-horn moose standing twenty feet away, headed in

"

102

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
direction.

my
I

He was
I

looking straight at

me

and never moved.
his head.

too stood perfectly

still.

could see that the old fellow was puzzling

waited for

He was wondering about me. He me to do something. Both of his
After a few

ears were pointed toward me.

moments, he moved one of his ears backward and listened for sounds behind him. Up to this time I had not moved. Presently I noticed that he moved his head a little and threw back both ears. He was saying to himself, "I don't feel very comfortable here. This thing I see over there is an uncertainty. " Still there was not much fear in that moose's heart; I had not moved. It was interesting to watch him. I thought, "I wonder how near I can get to him before he moves away. In a flash that moose knew what I was thinking of. He knew I was getting ready to do something. Yet I hadn't moved. He didn't know what I was going to do but he
waited to
see.

Keeping

my

eye on him I carefully reached

up

to

Still

shoulder and lifted off the trap chain. very cautiously I lowered the trap to the

my

ledge beside me, but I did not
or change

move my

feet

my

position.

WILDERNESS NEIGHBORS
not quite sure whether I had

103

The moose had seen me do this, but he was moved or not and was waiting there to see. Suddenly I made a quick bolt at him, and actually got within ten feet of him before he bounded off in another direction. I kept right after him at top speed and held my own.

He was headed

for the

burnt lands.

became caught and he was held fast. He was at my mercy. However, he didn't fear me in the slightest. He was ready to fight. The bristles on his back stood up as a kind of challenge. He made no effort to untangle himself, but just stood there and waited. I talked with him awhile and walked around him. I could see that he expected I was going to do something unlooked for. I kept on talking to him, turning my head away from time to time and pretending to busy myself with
Plunging into a tangle his legs

something
I

else.

could see the disposition of that moose

change toward me. began to go down.
self;

The

He

back probably said to himbristles

on

his

''This

is

a funny fellow.

He

chases

me

way out
tome!"

here,

and then, when he has me caught,

he does n't do a thing but stand there and talk

104

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
to pull his forelegs out of the

Then he began
tangle.

he got free he turned around and looked at me. I could see that I was a mystery to him. He didn't know what to

When

make of me. Then he sauntered

off

as leisurely as

if

I

,

had been nowhere around, stopping every few paces to gaze back at me. The foremost thought in that animal's mind was, "I can't fathom that!" All the way, until he disappeared in the direction of the burnt lands, that moose turned around to watch me as I stood there. Even after he had passed out of my sight I'll wager he watched for some little time through the trees. As in this instance of the moose, the thoughts
of all other

animals of the forest are easy to

understand.
tage

The human being has
logically;

the advan-

because of his better developed brain.
the

The man reasons
stinctively.

animal
the

in-

Without the
interesting of
all

animals
at

my

isolation

I

most During spent many hours watching
slightest

question

is

the beaver.

these

busybodies

work.

Their

constant

industry and power to work without the slightest

waste are an inspiration.
that I saw had once been

The beaver pond

WILDERNESS NEIGHBORS

105

nothing but a mountain stream. It was now a broad sheet of water and rightfully belonged
to the beavers.

Each year
built their
it

as their

numbers increased they

dam

higher and stronger, so that

flooded

more timberland.
field

Thus

these creaso

tures had spread their

of operation,

that they would not have so far to drag their
cuttings to the water.

The beaver dam
all

is

everlasting.

It stands for

time, growing stronger each year with the

growth of vegetation planted by the seeds that are washed down in the current. Many ponds

owe

their origin to the beaver.
is

So well done
building that

the

dam

of

the beavers'

to blow out one of
for their logs.

lumbermen require dynamite them to make a passage
all

As there

is

a limit to

things so there

is

a

limit to the height of a beaver

spreading surface of the water.
point
is

dam and When
is

the
this

reached, and the feed-wood

growing

scarce along the banks, the beavers begin to mi-

grate and leave their houses along the shore

empty. Beavers travel in pairs, male and female together, each pair going in different directions over the mountainsides into the valleys. Here

106

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

they start operations for themselves by constructing dams across a stream or an outlet,
or

some spring

in

a country where

wood

is

plentiful.

When no

beavers remain to keep a

dam

in

repair the water settles in

abandoned beaver
trails.

ponds, and their drag roads become game

In summer the deer and the moose come
these. trails to feed

down

on the tender bottom-grass. The beaver is intelligent and labor-saving. His system is equal to that of any human being. With him there is no waste of material or time, and, with the aid of nature, his work is always well done. From his first stick of feed-wood
on, everything counts.

He
drags
ally

cuts

down

his tree

with his sharp teeth,

it to the water 's edge, and peels it. Usuhe selects trees from one to three inches in diameter, on the bank of his pond or stream above the dam. These he cuts into lengths of

from four to eight

feet.

The beaver
float

likes

poplar best of

all.

After

eating the bark he allows the peeled sticks to

downstream where they lodge on the dam. There they remain ready for use in repairing
the

dam

or in building the beaver's house.

Feed-wood will not float with the bark on. That is why beaver dams and houses are built

WILDERNESS NEIGHBORS
of peeled sticks.

107

Chinked with moss and stones

both are firm and waterproof. When the time comes that the beaver must lay in his winter supply of food and bedding,
he begins to cut such wood as he
is

able to handle

and carry

it

to the water's edge.
it

butt of the stick to keep

Holding the from sinking he

swims to the entrance of his house. Diving into the water, the beaver then makes
the butt secure in the

muddy bottom,
line.

leaving

the stick in an upright position with a portion

protruding just above the water
stick
is

Stick after

deposited until the winter supply of
is

feed-wood with bark and limbs

securely fasdisis

tened in the mud, within easy reaching

tance from the entrance of his house, which

under water.

When
in
solid.

the cold weather comes the sticks are
secure than ever as they are frozen

made more

house begins.
trance
of

Then the feeding from this storeThe beaver dives from the enhis house, swimming under the

ice to his source of supply,

where he cuts off a stick of feed-wood and returns to the house with it. After the bark is consumed for food, the stick is chewed into shreds like excelsior and used to make a nest for the family. The beaver house is most interesting. It

108
is

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

like a beehive, with an airhole at the and is built on the shore with the entrance top, under water. Some of these houses have two or three stories, one on top of the other, the whole accommodating as many as ten beavers. Now among the beavers there are some who do not work. They are called "bank beavers," or "bankers." They live in the waters backed up by the dams of the workers, never doing anything themselves, and feeding upon the bark of woods that others cut. They never drag any wood for their own use. In winter, when ponds and streams are sealed with ice, they steal their food from the storehouse of the workers. These ''bankers" are always sleek, fat, well furred, and usually larger than the industrious beavers. The two never associate. This

shaped

"banker,"
unlike one
life.

who is not self-sustaining, is not who leans wholly on others in human

That afternoon, while I was watching the beavers after I had skinned my bear, I remembered how once, years before, I had been forced At the time I to sleep in a beaver's house. had been in the woods for weeks trapping, and was overtaken by a heavy snowstorm. Being far from camp, I knew that I must fmd some sort of a shelter at once. I was close to a beaver

WILDERNESS NEIGHBORS
house gave

109

pond, and the sight of an abandoned beaver

me an
I

idea.

Not
under

caring to use the front door, which

was

water,

made an opening through

and some rough boughs and sticks for a Once inside, I pulled the covering roof. together securely and made myself comfortable
the top, leaving a space for
to crawl in,

me

piled on

for the night.

Just as I had utilized the

home

of

an animal

in that blizzard, so did a black snake take ad-

vantage

of

night during

my my

Bear Mountain lean-to one
primitive
life

in the forest.
felt

Waking up one morning
strange snuggled up close to

I

something
Sitting

my

chin.

up quickly caused a coiled black snake to slide from my breast down to the ground beside me. I should say he was about two and a half feet long. Evidently he was cold and had crawled in close to my sleeping body to get warm;
I

guess he had, for he wriggled

away

lively

enough!

two months I saw but few snakes. There are no rattlers in that part of the country, and the few other species are generally harmless. I saw the garter, the green, and the black snake, among others. People have asked me since my return why I
During
entire

my

110

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
get

didn't
place I

some fox

skins.

In

the

first

and,

didn't absolutely need their skins, though I had already been obliged to
I

break the game laws,
pelled

never did so unless im-

by dire necessity. I saw a red fox one morning, however, nosing around down by the spring. He didn't see me, so I made up my mind to have some fun with him. I commenced to squeak like a
Raising his head quickly, he immediately began to creep toward the sound, with both ears alert for another squeak. I

mouse.

squeaked again and on he came. Then suddenly he saw me move, and away he scudded
into the bushes!

always have to laugh when these animals answer a squeak. Even standing out on a
I

open you can squeak a fox very close to you if you keep perfectly still. Like other inhabitants of the woods, unless he gets your scent he will take you for a stump or
frozen
in the

pond

other part of the surroundings until you

make a

m.ovement.

Had

I

had an

''at

home"

there in the wil-

derness invitations would have been forwarded
to the moose, deer, beaver, bear, wild-cat, otter, mink, squirrel, fox, rabbit, partridge, chipmunk,

blue heron, loon, wild goose, wild duck, and

WILDERNESS NEIGHBORS
hoot-owl
all

111

— for they were my neighbors and friends. As to the moose — saw only three in my doI

main, where ten years ago I would have seen

two months' time! I have a story about two of these three moose.
at least fifty in

CHAPTER

VIII

FEVER AND THE BATTLE OF THE MOOSE
Sleeping with one's back against the roots

weather is not the worst thing in the world; but that morning
of a spruce

blowdown

in fair

when

the day awoke in the wilderness after I had found the deer killed by the wildThe rain awakened it was raining hard. cat me, and I was n 't particularly comfortable. Then, too, that mood of utter dejection was
I

still

hanging

over

me,

which

didn't
I

help

matters in the slightest.

Digging down into

my

pack

found some
small deer-

dried raspberries, of which I ate sparingly.

After breakfast I packed up
skin

my
off

and bearskin and started

again along

the natural

didn't select any special direction, but after walking for some time I saw that I was headed for what is known as the Horseshoe Country. This morning the feeling within me to give up the experiment was stronger than ever.

game

trail.

I

I

hated the woods, the world, and myself.
112

FEVER AND BATTLE OF MOOSE

113

I walked on for miles, going wherever the path took me, until well into the afternoon, when I suddenly perceived that I was pretty

well into a

swamp.

Desirous of getting as far

away
trail

as possible I

hadn't noticed where the

was leading me. Thinking I could get through the bog all right I kept straight ahead; but my progress was so slow that I realized that darkness would
soon overtake me.

Night came on with a rush.

I

decided to

pick out the driest place I could find and
tion of the

camp

there for the night; but with the soggy condi-

ground itself and the rain that was was impossible to find a dry spot. I attempted to make a fire, but after a quarter of an hour of the most discouraging work I had
still

falling it

to give

it

up.

was very dark, and I saw that something must be done. I couldn't stand there all night, neither could I rest on
this

By

time

it

that soaking ground, so I started blindly through

the tangles, sinking

down

into the

mud and

water at every other step.

My pack hampered me greatly and I saw that must get rid of it. I swung it off my back and hung it on to the limb of a dead cedar, and proceeded to spot the trail by breaking over
I

114

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
At daylight
I

limbs and underbrush.

planned to come back for my pack, because everything I possessed in the world just then was contained
in
it.

went once more. I had an idea in my head that I must be close to the edge of the swamp, and so I struggled on instead of going back. It seemed as if, with every step, the footing became worse. It was laborious work. My feet would sink 'way down in the mud, so that when I drew them up it seemed as if there were weights attached to each foot. Time and again I would run into fallen timber and be forced to crawl under it. I didn't

On

I

care to take the chance of stepping over
I

it,

for

was in my bare feet and was afraid of slipping. It began to get cold now and I realized how foolish I had been to leave that bearskin behind. For the first time since entering I was naked. the wilderness I was really suffering physically. Above all else I wanted a solid place to put my Dragging them in and out of the mire feet. was exhausting and I was getting very tired. I had n 't noticed it before, but it had stopped raining. The heavy clouds which had made it so dark in the swamp began to break away and occasionally the moon peeked out, weirdly outlining the fallen timber and tangle about me.

FEVER AND BATTLE OF MOOSE
But
it

115

was better than inky blackness, and I stumbled ahead. Then a cloud would obliterate^ the face of the moon, leaving me in total darkness again. A cold damp wind swept through the bog, chilling me through and through. If I could have run I wouldn't have minded
it.

Once when the moon came out again I saw some kind of a clearing in front of me. In
the distance I could just
in sight I increased
I

make out

the outline
this goal

of higher land against the sky.

With
efforts.

my

weary

had nearly reached the center
the grass and

of this open-

ing on the dead cedars which were half buried
in

mud when

I

discovered in

my

path a dead stream. I followed along the mud-sogged bank, searching for a fallen tree where I might cross. Finally I found one, and was mighty thankful for it, as the footing was getting almost impossible. Carefully I began to walk over that fallen tree, and treacherous footing
it

was, for the bark was as

slip-

pery as

glass.

I curled

up

my toes like a monkey
moon
no head Inky

to get a better hold, hoping that the

would

light

my way until I got to the other side.
night, for

But luck was not with me that
sooner did hope of the

moon
across

enter

my

than a black shadow

fell

my

path.

116

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
down over
still

blackness again settled
ness, leaving
I

the wilder-

me

helpless.

tried

to stand perfectly

to get

my
feet

bearings, but suddenly the bark under

my

seemed to slip and I was thrown into the mud and water below. I remember, as I rose to my knees, I felt as if I didn't care what happened. I was weary in body and mind, but I kept on struggling. It took every ounce of strength I had left to get my legs out of the mud and crawl back on to the log. I waited for the moon again, but
it

didn't appear, so I commenced to crawl along on my hands and knees to the other

end

of the log.

Finally I reached the other side.

Over
I

there,

what was
floating

my

dismay to

find that the

mud was
was on a
log.
left

even worse.
go on, so
I

Then I discovered that bog! I knew it would be
I again

useless to

crawled back over the

Struggling back to the big bog I had just

found a place under some scrub spruce and cedars where I waited for the morning light.

was the longest night I ever spent, and to use when morning finally dawned I was
It

a familiar expression

— "all
fear

in."

The
self

mere realization that I could
without
of

move myover

around

tripping

FEVER AND BATTLE OF MOOSE
some
fallen tree

117

gave

me
in

courage to go back
search
of

through the

swamp

my
I

pack.

After a short tramp through the

mud

came

upon signs of my spotted trail, and presently found the dead cedar on which it hung. That night found me with a good fire in my lean-to on the northwest side of Bear Mountain. More from exhaustion than anything else I dropped into a deep sleep, but it
was not a I awoke
heat.
for
I
relief.

restful one.

in the darkness, burning

up with

threw

my

bearskin covering to one side

My head was splitting. I was began to have chills and I reached for I my bearskin and threw it over me. Then I felt as if I were on fire again. "It's all off now, for sure," I muttered to myself. "I'll make a try to get to King and Bartlett's in the morning." All the rest of the night I thrashed around on my bed of moss and boughs. I began to wonder if I was going to lose my mind.
sick.

When
I felt
fully.

came at last, I tried to get up. light-headed, and my head ached dreaddaylight
all

Aching

over I finally gathered myself

together and

made my way down

the trail

118

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
King andBartlett's. I was I had fully deterdistance,

in the direction of

going out of the wilderness;

mined upon that. I would walk a little

and then,

feel-

ing too badly to go on, would sit down with my back against a tree to rest. It did n't seem as

very much farther. The thought came confusedly into my mind that it was September. Anyway, I had stayed
if

I could go

until September!

Presently I started
see very clearly.

off

again.

I could not

Nevertheless I could hear

perfectly well, for the next

moment

I

heard

an awful racket

off

the trail to

my

left.

and temporarily I forgot my own condition. There was a fallen tree just ahead, which I walked up to and then stopped, for just a little way beyond a crotchhorn moose and a big bull moose were engaged
Curiosity cleared
brain,
in a terrific struggle.

my

Watching them draw apart, only to come together again with mighty impact, smashing the branches of the trees and tearing up the underbrush, the excitement made me completely forget myself.

That was the most terrible battle I ever saw between animals in the forest. Evidently they had been fighting for some time, for

FEVER AND BATTLE OF MOOSE
they

119

were
last

bleeding

badly

and

breathing

heavily.

The

charge had resulted in a clinch, and

already the big bull moose was drawing back
for another rush.

Lowering

his

head he made
cleverly

a savage plunge.

The younger moose

sidestepped the attack, and as the big ani-

mal crashed by he drove his sharp spikes into his neck with fearful force. Down they went to the ground together. Being the more active, the young moose
recovered his footing
first,

striking out savagely
foe.

with his forefeet at his rising
big bull staggered to his feet.

Then the

huge gash in his neck showed red. With shaggy mane bristling and lowered head, he prepared for another
charge.

A

The young moose was apparently

fighting

on the defensive. He evaded rush after rush and retaliated with hoofs and horns, tearing gash after gash in the head and body of his aggressive enemy. Sometimes it was a running fight. At others, they would rear on their hind legs, fall into a clinch, lock horns and during the
-v.

struggle continually surge against the saplings

and dry cedars, breaking them down with a crash and tearing up the ground around them.

120

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
it is

I think in an affair of this kind
for

natural

any man

to take sides.

I

took sides with

the young moose.

The

big bull was forcing

him beaten. They paid no attention to me, however, and once even came within twenty feet of
the fight, and I hoped to see

where

I

was standing.
fright-

After awhile the big fellow got the crotch-

horn down, and began to gore his side
fully.
it

I yelled, and, picking

up a

club, hurled

at the bull.

He threw up

his head, panting,

and stood looking straight at me. In an instant the young moose was on its feet and away. Then the big moose whirled about and followed after him.
Completely forgetting my sickness, I threw down my pack and went after them. At first I thought they were running away from me, but just then the crotch-horn dashed into a thicket of saplings through which the big bull tried to follow. The trees, however, were not spread wide enough apart to admit the broad antlers, and so the big fellow was

hung up in fine style. Then you should have seen that young
moose! He turned like a flash, rushed back with lowered head, and thrashed that big
bull in terrible fashion.
It

gouged him again

A M

FEVER AND BATTLE OF MOOSE

121

and again, besides drawing fresh blood with his hoofs. Rising on his hind legs he would strike
with
all his

strength with his front feet.

The and he fought frantically to free himself. This he managed to do after a time, and bellowing at the top of his lungs he made for the young moose, who sidestepped and dashed away again. The crotch-horn was foxy, for he would choose the narrow places, thus constantly slowing up
the big bull.

repeated blows staggered the big moose

So the nimble one got quite a
off

ways ahead
trees,

for a start.

Presently they disappeared

through the

going in a different direction from the

one
the

I

was

traveling; so I turned

back toward

game trail. About an hour afterwards
off into

I

caught sight of
saunter-

that young moose some distance ahead of me,

walking

the woods.

He was
I

ing along as independent as could be. big bull was nowhere to be seen.
believe that the

The

honestly

two had come together again in a battle to the death, and that the young one had conquered. With the excitement over, the effects of the returned. for it was a fever I lay fever down by the side of the trail and tried to sleep, but I could not, though I didn't feel cold.

I

122

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

I got to

my
I

feet again, feeling so

badly that I

thought

was going to

lose

my

head.

The
enter
will

idea of

my

leaving the woods did not
I said to

my mind

just then.

myself/'

go down near the camps so that if I do go my head they will fmd me, sooner or later, and take care of me. " I reasoned also that if I found myself getting worse and was in
out of
the

proximity

of

the

camp,

I

might have

left to fmd my own way there. was a long journey, and I don 't remember a good part of it. However, as I neared the Somecamp, my mood changed somewhat. how I didn't quite want to give the experiment up, and yet at the same time I did. I was pretty close to the camp, and occasionally could hear voices; but I was well out of sight. Resolving to try and stick it out a little longer, I became I lay down and tried to sleep again. dazed and did n 't seem to want to move.

strength enough
It

Then darkness descended. The first thing I remembered
hearing a
trail.
little

after that

was
the
I

noise close beside
effort to sec

mc on
it

I

made no
felt

what

was.

was too
It

sick to care.

Presently I

some animal

sniffing

me

over.

was a dog! Had it been a man I should have spoken to him. It was an Airedale terrier.

fevi:r

and battle of moose

123

belonging to Harry Pierce of the King and BartIctt

Camps.

The dog remembered me. He was tickled to death to see me. I spoke to him and he could n 't
get close enough to me.

In his enthusiasm he

sprawled

all

over me.

After the preliminary greeting the dog be-

came quiet, and lay down beside me with his back against the bearskin. Then I fell asleep. I must have slept well, for when I awoke my headache had disappeared. So had the dog. I felt better in every way. I could see things from the right point of
view.

After moving around a

bit, I said

to myself,

"I guess
the

I

won't give up to-day."

Presently the dog came trotting along
trail again.

down

talked with him for awhile, and then turned back into the woods. I walked on and on until I came to the side of Black Nubble. Evidently the dog had gone back to the camp. On the slope of Black Nubble I threw up a little shelter, and all day long I lay around there. The next day I felt a great deal better, so much so in fact that I did n't entertain an idea of giving the experiment up. Early in the morning I headed for the Plorseshoe Country again.
I

124

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

That fever was my only sickness during the entire two months, I took no barks or medicines I

might have thought

of in the forest,

for I considered that the fresh air,

which

is al-

ways laden with health-giving
sufficient.

properties,

was

proved to be. world is inclined, I believe, to be medicine mad. In the event of a severe headache the general tendency of the civilized man or woman is to
It

The

civilized

go to bed, if possible, rather than to go out into God's fresh sunshine and air.
Instead of permitting nature to be the doctor,
free of charge, they

immediately send for the

human

doctor.

In nine cases out of ten where minor ailments are concerned the mere idea that a doctor has been in attendance is the basis of the cures
rather than the cures actually coming from

the medicine
successful
in

itself.

Physicians are far more
cures

effecting

with sympathy
visiting

than they are with medicine.

Women

especially

are

constantly

their doctors for nothing

more than sympathy
sea

when very little really ails them. The great outdoors with its woods and

and sunshine and fresh air is the real road to health. Nature is indeed the great physician.

FEVER AND BATTLE OF MOOSE
The mere
in the

125

fact that countless advertisements

of patent medicines are constantly appearing

newspapers

all

over the country proves
using such concoctions

that the people are
in

still

large

quantities.

The

patent-medicine

companies are not paying for advertising for the fun of it; these advertisements bring in
the business.
It

would seem,
life

therefore, with this constant

flood of worthless, so-called medicine pouring

into our social

that something

is

wrong with

our living.

There is n 't a countryside in all New England but where, from a railroad window, you can see some old barn and usually every old barn
in

— — painted black, sight
liver cures advertised

with blood purifiers
thereon in
gold.

and

mammoth

letters of blazing red

and

The systematic outdoor life is a sure safeguard against disease, and when it is universally practiced by all, the contracting and spreading of sickness will be materially lessened. Under
such conditions the patent-medicine concerns

would have to go out of business. Since coming back among my friends
often thought of
sick

I

have

how

I

completely forgot

my

and weary condition while watching that battle between the crotch-horn and the big bull

126

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

moose out there in the forest. It only emphasizes a belief I have always maintained regarding how much the mind has to do with physical aches and pains. During that conflict in the woods my mind was wholly taken up with the combat itself. There was no room left in that mind to think of my physical self. Therefore, so far as I was able to feel, I was perfectly well. I mention this because once again the outdoor life plays its part. It is fresh air that makes rich red blood; and it is rich red blood that makes a healthy brain. A healthy brain does
not recognize sickness.

My

idea of perfect health

is

when a man

can absolutely forget that he has a stomach,
a throat, or any other part of his body that
is

apt to be troublesome.

With that one exception of fever caught in the swamp I was in perfect health during my two months in the wilderness. When I came out of the forest I was not only improved physically, but my mind was improved, in spite of the fact that I had not come in contact with
a

human

soul.

CHAPTER IX
ANIMAL STUDIES
In the wilderness the one great law is the This law applies from fittest. the very lowest of vegetable life up through
life

survival of the

the various stages of animal
I observed this over

in the forest.
I

and over again while

was in the woods. The thousands
to

of little seeds that fall

from

the big trees to the ground take root and proceed

grow.

Soon they spring up

like

a soft

green carpet.
It
it
is

interesting to note at the very start that

would be impossible for all these tiny seeds to mature inasmuch as there would not be room enough for them all in the wilderness. Some have to be sacrificed. It is the inevitable law. One plant grows up sturdier than another, and the big ones crowd out the little ones, so
that they cannot receive the nutriment they
need.

These

weaker
fulfill

specimens

of

growth

perish.

They

their

part by

enriching

the earth for the stronger ones,
of

by the process

decay.
127

128

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

plants

Then along comes the animal, destroying by feeding upon them. Some escape
and perhaps grow into tall up toward the sunlight

total annihilation,

trees, rising up, up,

which is so necessary to their growth. Here again the rugged tree pushes the weaker tree back into the shade. It is only the fittest
that survives.

The same may be said of animals. A little mink runs nimbly alongside the brook and
spies a partridge

on a low limb
it,

of a tree.

He

darts at

it,

catches

and

kills it.

Just then a

wild-cat sneaks out of the bushes toward him.

Being the stronger, the cat has
in robbing the

little difficulty

mink
trail.

of the bird.

But while
comes
is

he

is

feasting on the partridge, a hunter

along

down

the

The hunter

not only

bigger and stronger than the wild-cat, but he has

a more powerful brain.

He

also has a gun, so

he

kills

the creature.
this

Taking
world
let

same idea out

into the civilized

us suppose that the hunter just men-

tioned had been a

woodsman

all

his

life.

He

business.

first time to do some Being unused to city ways, and mentally weaker in regard to business methods in vogue, he would easily fall a victim to an unequal trade, just as the Indians always received

goes to the city for the

ANIMAL STUDIES
the worst of
ago.
it

129

at the

hands

of the whites years

gave us There were some things which the Indians could do that the white men could not do, but the white men had the more highly developed brains and the improved weapons, which had come as a result of trained minds, so the combination vanIt of the fittest that
this great

was the survival

country of ours.

quished the Indians.
Just as this law applies to all nature, so does concern our whole life. Capital and labor are

it

but another example. In the lives of the creatures that inhabit
the wilderness there are great lessons for us to
learn.
ing.

And

the study

is

tremendously

[interest-

While I had always made more or less of a study of animals during my various experiences in the woods, the two months that I lived as one of them gave me insight into their ways and habits which I shall never forget. There is no question in my mind as to whether or not animals have souls. Of course they have souls! If you have ever lived alone in the wilderness you will thoroughly believe that they do.

Ask any man who has spent much

of his

130

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

time in the forest to tell you some of the interesting things animals have done. Ask him about
the squirrels he has watched, or the birds on
certain trees that have sung

and whistled to
a couple of

him.
calves,

Ask him about a moose with

who have
paying

frequently passed
the
slightest

him by
to

without
him.
creatures

attention

They know who 's who

than a
kind.

size up a man much better human being can size up one of his own To them such a man is only another

— and can

— these

wood

animal
for the

like

themselves.

It

is

not necessary

to speak to an animal in order an understanding. If I could only live about twice the time allotted to the human race it would be the height of my ambition to go back to the woods, where, in perfect harmony, I could come to understand more about all these living wild creatures. I am confident that a complete understanding would eventually arise between to establish

man

man and

animal.
his

The Almighty has given
lots of things

wood

creatures
P'or in-

he did not give to man.

movements of the ears of the deer. Perhaps you come upon it unawares. It stops short and starts quickly away from
stance, take the

you.

For a second both cars are inclined toward

ANIMAL STUDIES

131

you; then you will suddenly see one of those ears go back. The turning of that one ear backward is its only protection from danger behind
it.

A human
Instead,

being can't flop one ear forward
at the

and the other backward
Again, a

same time.

God has given man a higher brain. human being cannot smell out the

track of an animal; but

man

has other faculties
this

which

will

more than outweigh

power

of scent in

wood

creatures.

If

man

possessed

the power of scent he would be so superior to the animal that the poor creature wouldn't

have the

slightest

chance

to

protect

itself.

With
woods,

this

scent

the

man would know

just

where the animal was the minute he entered the
do not think the average man or woman how foxy and tricky an animal can be. I have met wild animals that I know can outwit and fool the most intelligent human
I
realizes

being in the world.
After the
first

fall

of

snow

in the hunting

when tracking is perfect no animal can move in the wilderness without leaving a
season
trail.

Anyone who knows the woods and
as
it is

ani-

mals can judge the character of an animal by
its tracks, just

possible to

tell

the char-

acter of a

man by

the signature of his pen.

132

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
many
others

Like
animals.
I

who have

lived a great

deal in the forest, I understand the tracks of
If I strike

a deer track in the snow

can

tell

by that

track, without catching a

ahead of me it is and what it intends to do. I know whether or not the creature is aware that someone is following on its trail. I can tell whether it is a female or a male, and how large the animal is. An animal moves and acts in different ways in different conditions of weather. I have made a study of these peculiarities. With a thorough understanding of tracks, a hunter or trapper is able to leave the tracks themselves and go in another direction, knowing full well that he will either head off the
glimpse of the deer, just
far

how

creature or
short cut.

come again upon
In this

its

tracks

way he

is

able to creep

by the up

on a deer or a moose a whole mile by diverging,
perhaps, the tenth of a mile.

The experienced
will

woodsman knows
it

perfectly well without seeing

at

all,

whether the animal
left.

swing to the

right or

When
around,

a track stops in places and zigzags
it is

an indication that the animal has been feeding. Whenever I come upon a track like that I always stop and wait and listen before going ahead again. The creature ahead

ANIMAL STUDIES
likewise waits
intently.
It
is

133

from time to time and listens always conscious of its back tracks after the first fall of snow, and watches them carefully. A man has got to be mighty clever to follow an animal even on the snow. However, it can be done.
It
is

interesting to note

the
it is

character

of

the tracks of a deer
to find a place to

when

getting ready

lie down. The deer will go on until it reaches a high spot, where it will lie down, whether it be fair or stormy, at the foot of a spruce or cedar, and always with its head facing its back tracks. The lay of the land will tell you when you are approaching such a resting place. Nine times out of ten, when you are following such a track, you startle the deer, though you never see it. It had made

too clever preparations.
deer makes it a point to be in a position to you long before you are able to catch a glimpse of it, and a sight of you is a sign for
see

A

the deer to be off in a hurry. Not that they are watching for human beings all the time they do not know whether the creature following

But they are always on the alert for the wild-cat their greatest enemy. Deer listen all the time for the wild-cat, which can steal through the
is

them

a person or an animal.

134

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

woods without a sound.
a deer
is,

No

matter

how

big

a wild-cat will always take a chance.

Now
man

a

word

of

explanation as to

how

a

can determine certain things from the To tell the size of the trail of an animal. creature that has just gone on before him, one

doesn't have to study
the
trees

its tracks.

He
is

studies

and saplings along the watches for places where the bark

trail

and

rubbed.

A

big bull moose, for instance, cannot go betrees that are not

tween

wide apart.

He

al-

ways rubs the bark
through.
If

as he passes his antlers

these rubs on the bark are high
is

up you know that the animal
fellow.

a good-sized

The freshness of the tracks will how far ahead the animal is.
will

tell

you about

After following a deer for a few miles you
well establish in your
it is

mind the general
If

direction

journeying.

the tracks swing

to the right, apparently undisturbed, this swing

can be accounted for by the lay of the land. A deer is never anxious to climb hills. If there
is

a

hill

ahead you know that the deer
it

will

not climb

unless

it

is

absolutely necessary.
turning, therefore,

It will select the

easiest trail,

to the left or right of that

hill.

Perhaps this particular section of the conn-

ANIMAL STUDIES
try has been used for a natural

135

the past fifteen years.

game trail for The experienced woodsit

man knows whether
right

or not
hill,

turns to the

can figure appear somewhere farther along. That is where the hunter takes his short cut and heads the trail off, so to speak. Presently he comes across the tracks
or left
of

that

so

he

out about where the

trail

will

again,

and they are much

fresher.

He

is

nearer

the animal.

However, the animal is not asleep all time. Perhaps it has become aware that
being followed.

this
it is

Then

starts a battle of cun-

man and the deer. Assuming that progress is hard for the deer, and that it realizes only too well that the man is gaining, time and time again it will make
ning between the
a quick circle to the right or
left,

going right

around you, and, taking up its own back tracks again, follow you at a safe distance. Presently the hunter comes to the back tracks again and realizes he has been outwitted! In the meantime the deer goes along the back tracks for some distance, finally giving a big jump off toward the timberlands where it makes good its getaway. Bears are even more tricky. During my two months' experiment I saw

136

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
The northern Maine
is full

in all seven or eight bears.

country

of

them.

Sometimes when I went up onto high places where I could get a good view of the surrounding territory I would see bears in the distance. Once, in the burnt lands, I saw two or three grouped together, feeding on berries. The bear is classified as a sleeper. In the fall bears den up and do not come out again Coming forth from their long until spring. winter's sleep they are lank and hungry, and immediately start hunting for anything in the way of food. They will eat almost anything
they come across.

Bears go to the ponds and streams and fish for trout; and when the berries begin to ripen
in the
fill.

burnt lands and clearings, they eat their They are such gluttons that they will

hang around those berry bushes until they are And scarcely able to move from overfeeding.
they never leave the berry country until the berries are all cleaned out.

comes along bears change their diet to nuts and acorns, which means their moving farther in among the trees.
the frost of
fall

When

Bears are the worst scavengers of the north woods, because they are ready to devour anything and everything. Carrion is a luxury

ANIMAL STUDIES
to them;

137

and

stale fish,
is

such as I baited

my

bear trap with,
It
is

one of their favorite dishes.

know just what bears are going to do next. They often eat 'one another, and will even consume their own pups!
a difficult thing to

As an example
woods bear
story.

of the appetite of a bear I

am

going to relate to you a true northern Maine

have known for years, was conducting a party of prominent New York sportsmen through the forest. Besides other kinds of hunting they had set several bear traps at different points along the way. Revisiting one of these traps a day later, they found it gone. The Indian guide, who, by the way, was a bear expert, after making a short investigation, made an interesting discovery. The New York sportsmen who had hunted for years could see that the clog had been broken and they also noticed that there were bear tracks leading off toward the north. However, the Indian guide saw more than that. He saw other tracks mixed up with those of the bear that had been caught in the trap.
Indian
guide,
I

An

whom

He
to

also discerned that these tracks belonged

another

bear,
legs.

and that

this

other

bear

had but three
the

Careful observation showed
in the ground.

mark

of the

stump

138

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
the guide explained to the sportsmen

Then

that the three-legged bear was after the bear
in the trap,

and that if they did n't hurry they wouldn't find either one. The men laughed at him good-humoredly, but ^his seriousness made them hit up their pace. Following those tracks for an hour, they

presently arrived at the foot of a high spruce

where they found the trap and the half-eaten
carcass of a bear, with
off.

its

skin entirely ripped

The sportsmen were amazed.
to the Indian guide.

Hidden

signs

plainly told the tragedy of a battle to the death

Then he pointed out

to

the men how the trapped bear had dragged the heavy log clog and trap after him, while being chased through the woods by the three-legged He vowed that in bear to this spruce tree. an effort to shake off his tormentor the bear had

climbed a tree, still dragging the ten-foot log clog Broken branches showed that the after him.
chase had led to the highest branches, fully

and that there a mad battle had occurred, which resulted in the crashing of the two animals to the ground below.
thirty feet in the air,

In

the

subsequent
affair

fight

the

smaller

bear,

attached to the trap clog, was

killed.

The whole

had happened within about

ANIMAL STUDIES

139

an hour's time, for signs at the place where the trap had been set originally showed that the animals had only been gone a few minutes. After the battle the three-legged bear had skinned his enemy and gobbled half the carcass. Perhaps one of the most remarkable features about this story is the fact that the trapped
bear, not weighing himself a great deal over

seventy-five pounds,

had dragged that heavy
tree.

clog attached to his trapped foot across country

and then up a spruce

The bear
badly.

is

afraid of

human

beings.

He

is

a great coward.

A

child could frighten one

_ Unless a person interferes with them

on

their

own grounds

in the

are practically harmless.
will

mating season bears At other times they

run away from you. Speaking of greediness brings to mind one interesting phase of my experience with animals and birds during my two months' isolation.
It concerns the

moose

bird,

known
their

as the Canadian jay.

which is commonly These birds were

literally

They first made a nuisance to me. appearance shortly after I had killed

my
at
I

bear.

A

pair of

them came and scolded
tree.

me from

a nearby

could n't lay

down a

piece of

meat

for one

140

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

minute but that they would dart down and it away. If I was not on the alert they would snatch it from under my very hand. After a little the two grew to four, and at one time I had ten of these birds watching my every move. From time to time I had given them scraps; but I realized I must put a stop to it or else be bothered to death. The days had been passing rapidly by, and no longer fearing molestation from men in the Lost Pond district I returned there. In the meantime I had been living anywhere in the forest, sleeping in the open or under rude shelters, thrown together in a moment. My cedar-bark leggings had long since worn out, and I traveled about during the daytime with absolutely nothing on. I didn't need protection for my legs now, for they had become as tough as leather. When I reached my old lean-to I found I was practically out of food, so I was obliged to go on another foraging expedition. When you have obtained things once it never seems very difficult to get them another time. I soon rounded up some more trout, driving them from the big pools into my own small artificial
snatch
pools.

A BIRCII-BARK MESSAGE TO

AUTHOR

IN

THE OTITSIDE WORLD, WRITTEN BY THE THE WOODS WITH BURNT STICKS FROM HIS FIRES

ANIMAL STUDIES

141

September was passing away, but the bears had not entirely cleaned out all the berries. I managed to find enough to supply my needs. I never went hungry. Each night I slept about six hours, and found that this was all the sleep I required. I had a desire to accomplish some one big thing while I lived in the wilderness and the biggest thing I could think of was to paint
a picture in color right there in the forest.

How
my

I

went about

later chapter.

this task I will tell in a This idea took complete posI figured

session of me.
color,

out

how

I

could get

my

brushes, and even paper right

out of the material at hand in the woods.

Then
In

I set

my

about making experiments. enthusiasm I often forgot to

eat.

This ambition helped me mentally, and I did not suffer so much with thoughts of the outside world while the idea held me.
Finally I found that I was neglecting myself.
I was getting thin. was forced to look

Out

of sheer necessity I

after myself

and

let

other

things go.
I contented myself

with writing an occasional

or drawing a charcoal sketch
terial.

message on birch bark for the outside world, on the same ma-

142

ALONE IN THE WILDEKMESS
least once a week,

At

in the wilderness I

no matter how far out might have wandered, I

made a

trip to the

cache to leave

my

messages.

Once I left a pair of cedar-bark shoes, which I wondered what people I had discarded. would think of them. Each morning I had no idea where I would
be at night.
tain,

Some

nights found

me

at Big

Spencer, others at

my

lean-to on Bear

Moun-

and occasionally I went back into the woods

near Lost Pond.

Twice, out of necessity when I was hungry, was forced to shoot a squirrel with my bow and arrow. I roasted the meat, and it was good
I

eating.

Many

times I saw rabbits, but I

effort to trap

them.

I did n't

need them.

necessity compelled
partridges.

me

to bring

made no But down several

While I caught a few with the slip noose, as I have already described, I shot quite a number with my bow and arrow. The arrow would go clear through the bird and pin it to
the ground.

Already the woods began to show signs of the
approaching
fall.

Splashes of brilliant color
relief

on the

foliage

gave

from the constant

monotony
light frost

of green

and black.

An

occasional

made

the air wonderfully invigor-

ANIMAL STUDIES
ating.

143
I

Even during such days

covering.

My

skin

was

so tanned

needed no and inured

to the weather that I did not feel the cold.

At night I had my bearskin. One day, while strolling along the trail, I found a deer horn, which evidently had been
shed the year before.
Its peculiar

me

visions of a crude knife, so I
it.

riously to scrape

First I filed

shape gave began labothe horn in
I filed off

two by means

of a

sharp rock.

Then

one sharp prong and ground the blade to a keen
edge with other stones.

In order to make a good grip I stripped the
inner lining from the outer covering of

some

birch bark, which has the appearance of thin
raffia.

With

this fine shred a fairly substantial
I

cord can be woven.

wound

the handle of

my new
utilize

knife with this cord.

Later on I found another horn, but I did n't
it,

simply

carrying

it

around

for

luck.

horn knife proved most practical and useful. It would easily cut meat, and later when I made my clothing it came in handy. I was growing to be more and more a part of the forest every day. Whenever I needed anything I simply went and hunted for it. It was always waiting for me somewhere.

My

144

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
side

Even the mental
on me.

was

losing its grip

I was, in truth, a primitive

man.

I

had gone

back from the land
of antiquity.

of civilization to the forest

CHAPTER X
KILLING A DEER WITH THE HANDS

Sometimes we accomplish things before we
reahze
it.

The

story of

my

getting a deer

is

very

much

like this.

The

just before dark while I
little trail close

incident happened was walking along a

to the shore of a small pond. Suddenly I heard a noise in the water ahead of me. I stopped still, and presently heard the noise again. Then I walked on toward the shore until I reached an old spruce tree, whose roots were growing up on one side of the trail. Of course, any game going through the water to drink had to avoid these roots. All around me was a thicket of spruce and cedar. From where I stood I could see quite an opening down toward the water. First I noticed ripples on the water, and then a little farther out I saw a young spike-horn buck feeding on the bottom grass. When I first saw him I did not have the slightest idea of catching him. The thought never

entered

my

head.
145

146
I

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
knew that
if

the deer were frightened he

would run in the opposite direction from the sound that startled him. The wind was blowing from him to me, so he could not get my scent. I picked up a piece of spruce root and threw it out over the deer's back into the water. The animal threw up his head, looked around in all directions, and then started out of the water up the trail toward me. I picked up a stone and threw this out into the water, the second splash starting him along farther toward the root behind which I was
hiding.

Carefully judging the time and distance, as

soon as he got opposite
the forward feet and

me

I

caught him by

Then

I

down he fell in the trail. caught him by the horns, and with my
I got control of

weight on his back
I

him.

I

gave a quick twist and broke

his neck.

want

to apologize for killing the deer in

that
it

manner, but, under the circumstances, was the only way I had. I needed the skin

badly.
It

was

so dark
I

now
and

I

decided not to skin him

that night.

pulled the

body up a

little

to one

side of the trail,
ing.

left it

there until morn-

Back

at

my camp

that night I stirred up

my

KILLING A DEER WITH THE HANDS
banked
self,

147

fire

and

sat

down

to think.

I

didn't
to

give the deer

much
if

thought.

I said

my-

"Now

I've got another skin."
I

It

was a

small deer, but
of the skin

did n't waste too

much

making moccasins I would have enough, with bearskin and deerskin I had
taken

from the wild-cats,
I

to

cover

myself

completely.

went and got this skin. Beit, I took some meat and all the sinew back to my camp. Some of the meat I ate, some I dried, and some I kept in the spring for several days where it would be cold. Then I started to work making my wildersides

The next day

ness suit of clothes.

skin chaps.

I

First I made my buckdoubled the skin and wound it

around my thigh to see if it would be big enough to go around. I found that it would, but that it would not be quite long enough. However, with the other deerskin I could add
pieces to lengthen
it.

put the skins on to a piece of wood and began punching holes along the edge with the sharp point of a deer horn. These I laced together with strips of
I

After shaping the chaps

rawhide.
I

made my moccasins by

first

wetting the rawit

hide and putting

my

foot on

to get the

148

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
I

length.

used two pieces for each moccasin,
little
it

and stitchit was on my foot. This raised the stitching above the ground where it would not wear out. When the wet
ing
to the top piece while

turning the bottom piece up a

rawhide dried they were a perfect fit. Whenever I wore the bearskin I slung
over

it

my

shoulder

and held

it

together

in

front with thongs.

There was nothing wonderful about killing Many people have seemed to marvel about that incident, and some, not understanding the woods, have openly doubted the story. To anyone who knows the ways and habits of animals such a thing would not seem wonderful. Those who have hunted and lived among the wilds do not think so for a minute. It is really of such little importance that a man who understands such things would not even mention it. In fact, not until I had been out of the forest for nearly a week did I speak of the affair at all, and then only when I was asked to explain where I got my deer. Skepticism is based largely on ignorance. When a 'man hears something that he does not know about he is either broad-minded enough to learn more about it, or else announces that he does not believe it at all.
that deer.

KILLING A DEER WITH THE HANDS

149

A man
like this:

of the

woods might ask you something "Did you have a gun?"

"No."
"Well, that's pretty good.
to get your deer that

way."

You were lucky He wouldn't

any more questions because he would He wouldn't ask you how the deer acted, because he would know how it acted. Nor would he ask how much strength was used, knowing how much strength was necessary to kill a deer in that manner. He would also know that if you saw a deer too big to handle you would not tackle it. Only a short time after I came from the woods I had occasion to talk with Chief Nicola
ask
understand.
of the old

Penobscot tribe of Indians at Bangor, Maine, about a similar instance. He told me that he had killed a two-hundred-pound buck
in a deer

yard in the same way. He told the story as if it were a very ordinary occurrence, and no enthusiasm backed his words. The deer was caught by the antlers and thrown to the ground where the chief strangled him. In winter when the snow is deep the deer or moose has difficulty in getting about. They yard together, walking about in furrows worn by themselves. A man on snowshoes can run them down very quickly.

150

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

There are many different ways to kill a deer. In the yard you can kill him with a club. You can throw him and break his neck, just as the cowboys in the west throw a steer and break its neck. Then again you can strangle the animal by throwing your whole weight
against him.

Talking with Andrew Sockalexis, the Indian

marathon runner,
zation,

after

my

return to

civili-

brought

to

light

another experience

similar to mine.

This Indian had run down a

deer on snowshoes in the winter and killed the animal with his hands alone.
I
feel

pity instead of anger toward those
believe simply because they

critics

who do not

do not know.

The reader remembers the story in a preceding chapter of Andrew Douglas having his
picture taken with a moose.

At that time, later came upon another deer yard in the week, we There were six bucks near Big Jim Pond. herded together there, all of about the same size. Here was a fine opportunity for photographs. The animals were walking about,
breaking
snow.
It

through

the

crust

into

the

deep

This

made

travel very slow for them.

was the

easiest

thing in

the world to
the

catch them.

By

scattering,

we rounded up

THE AUTHOR

S

FIRST SHOES,

MADE OF THE INNER LINING BARK OF THE CEDAR

KILLING A DEER WITH THE HANDS
creatures quickly, but in the

151

mixup they got

He ran past all escaped but one. Andrew, close to me. I threw myself at him, grabbed him around the neck, and threw him. Down we went together, and a terrible rumpus
away and
followed.

He

got his forward feet through

my
I

snowshoes and pinned
tried

me

to the ground.

my

best to break

away

before he could

me with his feet. Finally, as I couldn't release myself, I hung on to his neck for dear life, holding his head down as close to me as possible. In that position he
cut and slash

could n't hurt me.
lered,

I held

on until
hands.

I

could feel
I hol-

the strength leaving

my

Then

is

"Boys, come and take this deer off!" Andrew and Harry Pierce only laughed. "On the level, boys," I shouted louder, "he going to get me!"

Evidently my tone impressed them, for they stopped laughing and came over and pulled the deer from my body. We let the animal
go.

My

camera and snowshoes were smashed
its

to pieces.

The
it

deer fights with
its

forward feet more than
In winter a deer does

does with

horns.

not have horns to fight with.

Summer

is

the mating season, and I suppose nature pro-

vided them with antlers at this time to pro-

152
tect

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
themselves.

In the mating season the

horns of these animals are perfect and they
are always ready for a fight.
sist

They

will

re-

in

any interference from other animals. But winter they yard together and are peaceful,
for

never engaging in battle,
I

at

this

time

they shed their horns and are harmless,

have obtained some remarkable photographs of these animals in the yards in winter under the jacklight. Jacklight photography is real sport, and when it is all over the animal is not harmed
in the slightest degree.

In jacklighting,

first of all it is

necessary to

have Then you need a canoe and a jacklight on a staff in the bow. Next,
a dark night. a

man who

essential
in the

— one

understands paddling

is

absolutely

who when he
do
it

dips his paddle

water

will

even hear a
this.

ripple.

All

you cannot guides know how to do
so quietly

Set your camera with the shutter open on a box above the light. Then you go paddling noiselessly down the stream, with a broad cycle of light sweeping the shore.

Unless a beaver swimming along makes a
dive,

and

in plunging

makes a noise with
is

his

tail as

he goes down, there

absolutely nothing

KILLING A DEER WITH THE HANDS
to break
scare

153

the

silence.

That noise does not

the other animals because they
it

know

what
scent

stands

for.

If the

animals on the shore do not get your you can go very close to them with the
first

canoe.

The
the

thing you see

is

two

balls of fire in

circle of light

on the bank. an animal
It

As you come
will

nearer, the form of

take shape

around those
crane

balls of fire.

a moose, a caribou, a bear,

any animal or bird in the woods. When you feel that you are close enough, pull the flashlight and you have your picture. Under the spell of the jacklight the animal stands fascinated, and it is a most cowardly thing to kill one under such conditions. There is a law against doing this one of the few good game laws. With the moose, especially the cow moose,
fact,

— in

may be a deer, or it may be a

it

is

different.

The
it.

jacklight

enrages

the

animal and she
pares to fight

bristles

up and always preShe will set herself and

canoe gets within about ten feet of her, when she will charge at it.
wait until the

In such a case the man in the stern of the canoe must know his business well. The minute the moose charges he shoves the canoe

"

154

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
of lengths, while at the

ahead a couple
instant the

same

man

handling the jack snaps out

the light.

light

As soon as the canoe is out of danger the is thrown on again and the moose gets

ready for another charge. Exhilarating sport follows, but if the man in the stern is not on to his job the sport may turn out to be dangerous.

The mention of a moose charging a canoe brings to my mind an adventure I experienced years ago in the Maine country in the daytime. Andrew Douglas, the moose expert, was with me, and we were paddling upstream above
Fish Pond, at the head of Spencer Lake.
It

was early morning.

As we rounded a bend
little

in

the river, I heard a sound a

distance ahead.

and we both stopped paddling to listen. The sound of something thrashing about in the alders on the bank came again, and we again started upstream to

Andrew heard

it

too,

investigate.
I

was

in the stern

and Andrew was

in the

bow. "I wonder what that is, Andrew?" "It is a moose, and he is hung up in the

mud.

We

approached nearer,

and presently we

KILLING A DEER WITH THE HANDS
with the weight of something.
sight of the animal's head.

155

could see the alders swaying back and forth

Then we caught

We came very close and watched him struggle
to release himself.

In one of his lunges he exlittle,

and then he saw us. He promptly began to blame his trouble on us. This was easy to see, because the bristles on his neck began to rise and he wanted to fight. Andrew and I just sat there and laughed at him. He was one of the biggest and maddest moose I have ever seen, and he thrashed about and made an awful fuss. We watched him for some time, and all the while the creature was making good headway toward liberty.
tricated himself a

After awhile a savage lunge brought

him

pretty well out, and I said to Andrew,
better get out of this."

"We

all right," he answered. So we sat there awhile longer, until the animal was practically free. "Now we had better get a move on," said Andrew. I dipped my paddle, and started to swing the canoe downstream. The craft turned all right, but it kept swinging around in a circle. The harder I paddled the faster it went around. It moved like a wheel on a pivot.

"Oh, we are

156

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
struck the water with a splash, and
us.

The moose
''What
's

charged toward

the matter?

What

's

the matter?

Why

don't you shove the canoe off?" shouted
I

Andrew.

"We're hung up on a stump,"
back.

hollered

Andrew
to

arose in the

my

end

of the canoe.

high up out of water,

bow and walked down This threw the bow and we were released
now,

from the stump. The moose was
nose

close

and we had

hardly time to dig our paddles deep and just

away from him. madly after us.
to get away,

Even then he swam
and, in our anxiety

We were in a beaver pond,
we ran on

stump close to the dam. It was lucky we had opened some on the moose, for as we came on this second stump we were capsized and thrown into the
to another

water.

On came

the moose.

We swam

up and got

hold of the canoe, just managing to push it over the dam and follow after, when the

moose

arrived.

The

big fellow

meant

business,

but we had escaped under his nose. There is one interesting thing about these animals of the forest that many hunters have

KILLING A DEER WITH THE HANDS
noticed but have never

157

thought very much

about.

It

concerns their wonderful instinct

in regard to the attitude of

men toward them.

In the off-season men in the woods will come upon all kinds of game and, under such conditions, will remark, ''Why is it, when I

have n't

my

gun with me,
is

I

always have great

chances for shots?"

The answer when a man is

These animals know woods to kill them. They can feel that he is there for that purpose. At But those times they keep out of his way. if a man is in the woods without a gun, the animals know it, and they do not show fear. That is why the man without a gun in the forest sees so much game, while with a gun he
simple.
in the sees so little.

animal in the woods would fear man if he left his killing instruments behind him. In fact they want to become friendly, and

No

But come to man. man can never tame them if he goes to them. I saw many wild creatures in the wilderness during my experiment, and they came to me, knowing that I was their friend. They knew that I would not harm them, and they wondered just what kind of an animal I
through
curiosity
will

was.

158

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

That is why the red deer and the white fawn would eat out of my hand. That is why partridges actually followed me and allowed me to touch them. I never want to see an animal harmed, unless Even under it is through absolute necessity.
those conditions there
forced to
kill
is

a regret

when

I

am

one.

CHAPTER XI
WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
which I lived during my experiment brought back to my mind many incidents of bygone days, for it was in this northern Maine country, a little to the north and west, that I had guided and trapped so many

The domain

in

times before.

About eighteen years ago I had a trapping line up in that hunting country. The line was about twenty miles long. It was in winter.

On
and

all
it

such

lines as this there is a

home camp,
mine that
I

was

at this

home camp

of

spent four or five nights out of the week.
rest of the time I

The

the line in

would stop anywhere along rough lean-tos, which I had built
trips.

during various

When

night

overtook

me and I was far from the home camp I would head for one of these temporary shelters. The time came when it was necessary for me to kill a deer. I needed the meat, and also some of the hide to make new fdlings for my snowshoes. This rawhide is the best filling
150

160

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
To
get this hide
it is

for snowshoes.

necessary

to kill

some fur-bearing animal.
its

In spite of
forced
get a deer.

being out of season I was thus
to take a chance

by circumstances

and

There was an old
tlement, not a great

man who

lived near a set-

way from where my camp
kill

was.

I

knew

that he could not

a deer, and

that he would be glad to have some deer meat.

gave him half of the animal I had killed. would not say anything about it, and thanked me. He and his wife ate the meat. Some time during the winter, while I was trapping, the game wardens came up in that section of the country and ran across signs of deer killing. Immediately they went to the old man and asked him if he knew who had been killing deer out of season. He replied, ''Joe Knowles is the only man who has been in

So

I

He

said he

this section.

He

has a trapping
get

line,

and

if

anyone has been

killing deer it is

he."
bring

They vowed they would
out and fine me.

me and

me

saw strange snowshoe sloates crossing my own. I wondered whose they were. The first thought that came to me was
I of the

One day

game wardens.

I followed these sloates

far

enough to

see that they were hunting for

WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
something.
I

161

kept on until signs told

me

that

the entrails and what was left of that deer had been found. Then the snowshoe tracks went back on their trail and I knew that the wardens were after me. They couldn't follow the trail to my camp, as I had looked out for that. So they went back to the village as I afterwards found and told the people that a deer had been out killed in the woods, in the section where Knowles was trapping, and that they were going to catch him and fine him. It was on their next trip that the wardens came to the house of the old man, and the old man told them that it was I who was killing

deer.

Then they came up

to

my

camp.

I

saw them

coming, and went out to the door to meet them and welcome them. In the little entry I had

There was an old mackinaw hanging there too. These wardens were so near the door that I had no time to do anything. I hung the mackinaw over the deer meat just about a second before
they came
''This
is

a quarter of the deer hanging up.

in,

nice weather," they greeted.
I

"Yes,"

answered.

"How

are

you getting along trapping?"

162

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
asked them to stop and have a
little

"All right."
I then

had something to eat, and they never mentioned what they had come for; but I knew and they knew that I knew. They didn't ask to search around, but saw nothing and yet were not satisfied. Finally they said they guessed they would go and make a short cut to the settlement where they had come from. I knew that though they might start in that direction, they would
dinner with me.

We

not follow

it

for long.
I

was close by. I had not cut him up, but had hung him in an old shack near my camp. The game warden started off, but, as I exAnother deer
killed

had

pected,

soon

took the

direction

of

the

old

Nothing but a dog could have followed the track that led up to that old shack. I had dragged the carcass over the crust early in the morning, when it was so hard it left no
shack.
trace of the work.

Even if they saw the buck in there, there would be nothing by which they could directly
connect
I

me

with the killing of the animal.

wanted to watch them closely, and, not being able to do so from the ground floor of my camp, I went up to the top and looked out

!

WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
across the clearing.

163

After the wardens had got some distance away they wheeled around and headed straight for the shack. Then I saw them go inside. Of course, I knew that that meant they would find the deer. "I'll have some fun with I said to myself, I took my gun and through these fellows."

a crack fired several shots at the top of the

As the wood splintered you should shack. have seen those men hustle away from that
quarter

That was the end
I

of it for that night,

but

knew they would

return the next morning to

arrest me.

In the morning, before daylight, I got up and put on my snowshoes. Then I went

down the deer, and placed it on a toboggan. The crust was as hard as wood, and I knew that neither my
over to the old shack, took

snowshoes nor the dragging of the toboggan

would leave any
I

traces.

woods and buried before the sun had
mountain.

dragged the carcass about a mile into the it under the crust even
risen over the top of the

My

judgment
again.

of

the night before proved

to be just right, for that

appeared

morning the wardens They were reenforced in

164

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

numbers. Instead of coming to my camp as they should have done, they went down to the 7 shack in the clearing. It was a funny situation just then, for, when
they discovered the deer gone, the

men whom

they had brought with them thought that the wardens had been lying to them. They hunted around for tracks, but of course there were n't any, and that fact only got the original game wardens in worse trouble than ever. Thus far they did n't have the slightest proof against me. Those wardens who had really seen the deer there were so mad that they went down to the house of the old man again and made a deal with him to appear as a witness against me. This news reached me very quickly, and I knew that it meant that I was to be watched
in the woods.

knew my particular snowshoe sloates I started to make a different pair. I put on these new shoes and started
Knowing
that the wardens
for a deer yard.
this deer
I

continued to walk through
I

yard until
off

reached a road that led
I

to the settlement.

When

got to this logging

road I took with their

the snowshoes and

hung them
trail,

trails

forward, and started back over

the same ground.

This made another

WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
of

165

the two sets of tracks giving the appearance

two men having gone to the settlement. was n't long before the wardens discovered these tracks, and as they went through the deer yard it set them thinking. They took the bait
It

completely.

Some distance from my camp I took off my new double-end snowshoes and hid them under the crust, taking out my own regular pair
which
at
I

had

left there.

A short time my camp and

later

the wardens appeared
if

asked
I

I

had seen any
I told

stran-

gers in that part of the country.

them
me,

that I had not.

asked no questions, and

did n 't appear a bit curious.

They

left

very

much

puzzled.

After awhile I struck out again, but this

time I started with the
ward.

tails of

my

shoes for-

It was snowing hard. Determined to find the man or men who were killing game out of season the wardens were constantly on the job. They found my last sloates and began to follow them. How-

ever, they followed

them

in the opposite direc-

tion from that in which I

was

going.
lost the trail

I learned afterwards that

they

because the snow
quickly.

filled

my

back

tracks

so

Because

of

that,

they thought the

"

166

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
of

man ahead
shoes.

them was a whirlwind on snow-

One morning a man whom I knew in the woods came down to my camp and told me

how

affairs

were going.
it is

"I know

necessary for you to

kill

a deer
will

once in awhile," he said, ''but they are de-

termined to get you, and

if

they do

it

mean

a heavy fine."
I

"All right,"

retorted.

Then he told me that the old man who had "squealed" on me was going to be a witness. That very night I went down to see the old gentleman just for the sake of having a heartto-heart talk with him. I found both him and his wife at home, and they looked kind of
flustered

when

I

made my appearance.
I

"Look here,"

began, "I understand you

are going to be a witness against

me

for killing

a deer out of season."

"But they have summoned me," the man excused himself, "and I have got to
I don't

old
go.

want

to do anything that will injure

you but

I shall have to tell the truth." ''What do you know?" I questioned. "I know that you have been killing deer." "You know that because I have told you so, "You have had some of that deer I broke in.

"

WILDERNESS ADVENTURES

167

meat and have eaten it. It will be pretty tough on me, and I shall have to pay quite a fine. Have you got any grievance against

me?"
"Oh, no," he
to court
replied.
is

when he

man has to go summoned. And a man
''But a

must

tell

the truth."
I agreed,

"All right,"
are going to

"but

as long as

you
tell

tell

the truth do not forget to

the court that I gave you half of a deer. "No, I won't forget," answered the

old

man.

"And when
get ready to

I get

ready to pay

my

fine

you

"No

— no,"

pay part of it."
he
cried, greatly excited.

Then I asked him if he had a copy of the game laws of the State of Maine. He searched
around until he found a copy, stoutly maintaining all the while that he was in no way responsible for any part of my fine. However, I quickly showed him where he had been an accessory after the fact, and that, therefore he was liable. He "backed water" pretty quick, and later when the wardens came to take him to court he refused to go, insisting that he knew nothing whatever about the
matter.

This turn of

affairs

made

the wardens more

168

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
fide

determined than ever to get bona
against me.

evidence

on backside-to fooled and when they thought they were on the trail of someone they were
Putting

my snowshoes
time,

them every

going in the opposite direction.

Some months

later on, after the affair

died down, these same wardens

my camp
dential.

at

my

invitation.

We

had came up to had a good
less

time fox hunting and got more or

confi-

They told me that they knew I had been killing game out of season, and admitted
they had been months trying to get me. A few years afterward the chief warden

who

had been after me in the deer-killing episode came down to my camp as my guest. One morning he discovered in a corner among some old traps my pair of snowshoes with the tails hung forward. As I watched him looking them over I saw that he connected them with those strange tracks he had seen years before. He was doing a lot of thinking. Finally he referred to the shoes, making the comment that such a pair would leave tracks I began to as if one were walking backwards. laugh and then told him I had walked that way

many

times.

''Joe," he cried,

"I want to ask you

just

WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
one question.

169

What

did you do with that

deer that was hanging up in the old shack?"

"What
I

deer?

What shack?"

I feigned.

I never told him.

am now

going to relate another story to

you, one which came back to

me

after fifteen

years while I was crossing Spruce Mountain

on my way to Canada during my recent twomonths experiment. It was in this Spruce Mountain country that
the
incident
occurred.

The hunting season

had long since gone by and it was about the March. For the purpose of taking photographs of some moose, Andrew Douglas, the most famous moose hunter in the history of the State of Maine; Harry Pierce, owner of the King and Bartlett Camps, and myself started off through the woods on snowshoes. Andrew was about sixty years old. We had left everything to him in regard to locating the moose. We made preparations to stay two or three weeks, and I took along my five-byfirst of

seven camera.

two days we got pretty well into the woods, but not a sign of a moose did
During the
see.
first

we

This fact

made Andrew
us.

so grouchy that

he refused even to speak to

When we

asked

170

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

him when he expected to find a moose yard he wouldn't answer. He got so mad that he tried to walk us to death on snowshoes. However, we followed his sloates wherever they went those two days. He was getting madder every minute, and finally it got so he wouldn't stop to eat lunch at noon. He was hunting for a moose yard with a determination that was unbeatable. Harry and I talked a lot as we crunched along, and we had almost lost our confidence in the ability of the old man. The third night came on, and, as on the preceding nights, we dug a hole in the snow, which we filled with boughs, putting more boughs on top, and then built a fire in front of the
crude shelter.

The next morning
spoken.

there

wasn't a word

few extra flapjacks to eat for lunch, and once more got under way. I asked Harry if he had the courage to ask Andrew which direction we were going that day. Harry took a chance and put the quesfried a
tion,

We

whereupon Andrew growled back at him,
of

"None

your business!"

We

decided that

he could, so followed on.

we could stand it as long as We knew he would n't

stop until he had located a moose yard.

"

WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
Finally

171

we came to the shore of a little pond. In silence we crossed the pond and went into
a
thicket

on the opposite

side.

Following
Presently

wherever the old
selves

man

led us we found ourleft.

taking a circle to the

we came out on again. Then Andrew

the shore of this
stopped.

same pond

He

spoke

for the first time in days.

''Harry," he said, "I have always told my boys about this pond on this side of the mountain and they would never believe it."

"Why,
little

same pond we crossed a while ago," Harry replied, looking interthis is the

rogatively at me.
I

"We

nodded yes. have not crossed

this

pond," declared

the old

— just a
"No,
pond.

man firmly. "Why, yes, we have.
little
sir,

Don't you remember while back

we

did not cross this particular

Did we, Joe?" he appealed to me. "I think we did," I said. "I tell you we did n't," he reiterated. Then I told him I would go up to the other end of the pond to see if I could find our tracks, and as I started off he growled something after

me

about nonsense.

I

found the tracks

all

right,

and when

I

got back Harry and I were

172
in

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
a position
all

to

dictate.

Andrew had got

turned

around.

We went on until we reached Spotted Spruce Mountain. Andrew had become so peevish that he was very far ahead of us out of sight. Harry and I knew that if we continued down the side of Spotted Spruce Mountain we would come upon a comfortable camp. The thought
of that

made

us temporarily sick of trying to

find moose, for

we had been spending

nights

out in the snow lean-tos.

We were almost on the point of letting Andrew
go where he pleased and going down to this camp ourselves, when, away up on the mountain, we heard the faint cry of the old man.
''Hey!

Come on up
all

here!

Here

's

the

moose!"
Forgetting

about the camp we started

as fast as ever we could go. Sure enough, he had found a moose yard! There were a bull and two cows in sight.

up the mountain

"I have found your moose.
cried

Now

get one,"

Andrew

as the big bull

began to come

toward us. There was a strange thing about this moose. In spite of its being winter he had antlers.

Through some freak
his horns, as is

had not shed the natural thing for moose to
of nature he

WILDERNESS ADVENTURES

173

do in the yarding season. He was the only moose I ever saw with full antlers in winter. The moose turned over toward the burnt lands and I followed him for about half a The snow mile, when I finally overtook him. deep and the going was difficult was pretty He managed to haul himself ahead for him. near a little bunch of trees. While I was fooling with him Harry and

Andrew came

up.

"Where's the moose?" they demanded. toward the trees. "Well, why don't you drive him out?" cried Andrew. Andrew had a gun in his hand. I had my camera. After the old man had told me I was
I pointed over

scared to death of the moose, he suggested that I
fell

a small cedar on the edge of the clump of trees the animal's back and force

down on
I

him

out.
close

took

my

hatchet and
I

felt

my way up

to this cedar.
closely;

and

The moose kept watching watched him closely too.

me

At

last I got a bit

acquainted with him and

then I started to chop. As the chips flew toward him he made two or three attempts to get at
me. He had trampled down quite a square of snow, and had a fairly good footing from which he could jump.

171

ALONE
1

IN 11IK

WILDERNESS

Although
nearest
(he

ilioppcd into the side of the tree
I

moose evidently didn't steer right, for when the cedar fell it landed on anolher tree, about two feet above the moose's
baek.
Tliis

was Andrew's cue
disgusted.
it's

to get talking again.

He was

"Well,

too late to get a picture now.

We'll have to

let him go and make a try in the morning," he announced, starting dow^n the mountain. "T>ut the moose will begone in the morning,"

1

argued.

"Wluit
shoulder.

of it?"

Andrew threw back over
the

his

We
night,

stayed at

comfortable

camp

that

and the next morning Harry, who had had enough of chasing around, played sick just before Andrew and 1 started olT for the moose yard again. Of course, when we reached the clump of trees of the night before the moose had gone. "I know where he is," declared the old man. There were no tracks, as it liad snowed during T^ut Andrew headed for a swamp the night. some two miles away, and shortly we struck fresh moose tracks.
Pretty soon
T

came

across one of the crea-

"

WILDK.RNKSS ADVK.NTIJIIES
ture's antlers, which
olT

17r,

he niusl have knocketl
sight of
He;
laiids,
I

against a tree.

Presently

we caught
the

him

liinil)ering

along

through

snow.

turned

from

the swamj) into Ihc I)urn(

not able to go so last as
shoes
1

and as he was could on my snowlie

soon overtook him.
thirty
feet

stopped

in

his

tracks, ready to light.

About
J

away from

tlu;

moose

set u})

my camera and

took several negatives

of him.

Suddenly Andrew asked, "Say, Joe, can't you get me in that same picture with the moose?" "If you can get near enough," rei)lied. "I never had my picture taken wilh a moose and I would kind of like to." The old man had his eye on the animal as
1

he talked, and

When

was gradually edging nean^r. he was about twenty-live feet from the
sto])]')ed.

creature he

"This near enough?" "No can't see you on

llu; ])late.

Andrew "How's

crept three or four feet nearer.

this?"
I shouted.

"No

good,"

"Can you

get

me

all

right

now?"

He had

covered just a foot more.

176

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

Meanwhile the moose was glowering at him and stamping his feet. The bristles on his main were standing up straight. He was ready for a fight. This made Andrew mad. "I'll put a pill into you if you don't mind your own business," he roared, addressing his
threat to the animal.

"Say, Joe, this
I told

is all

right, ain't it?"

him that I could see him on the glass, but that he was about as big as a pinhead, and that no one would be able to tell that it was he. The old man stood still thinking, with the moose watching him like a cat. There was a pine stump sticking up out of the snow on the other side of the moose, and Andrew's mind
traveled to that stump.

"Can't you swing your camera round this way?" he asked, taking a wide circle around the moose to the other side. I fixed my camera, while Andrew, peeking round the stump, managed to get within ten feet of the animal. There they stood on either side of the big stump, each trying to catch sight
of the other,
I

have that picture to

this day.

"

CHAPTER

XII

MORE WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
sometimes when a man suffers his mind is apt to go back over his life and Knger on some terrible hardship he has experienced, and that by making a comparison between the present suffering and that of the past he finds some consolation. It is no uncommon thing to hear a man or woman say, ''If I could go through that I surely can stand this present
I think

trouble.

A

similar comparison confronted

me

in the

forest

when mental

torture threatened to drive

me back
up.
It

to civilization before

my
I

time was

was about an experience

gone

many

years before in the northern

country, and the remembrance of

had underMaine it on those

lonesome times made
at present

me

realize that

my

lot

was

far less

hard in comparison.

I too said to myself, "If I could endure that

night I can surely win this battle with

my

mind."

The

recollection
177

of

that

adventure

178

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
me

in the canon, eighteen years before, aided

greatly in this respect.

was stopping in a settlement One morning I was called in northern Maine. upon to prepare for a sixty-mile ride, being told at the same time that a young woman was to be intrusted to my care during the
I

At that time

journey.

and from snow covered the ground. That very morning it was snowing, but it was a light snow and the air was unusually warm for
It latter part of January,
six

was the

to ten feet of

that time of year.

we had ridden for about twenty miles the snow turned to rain, and the horse began
After
to slump badly.

He

could hardly step with-

out sinking deep into the snow.
along five miles farther,

However,

with the slowest kind of progress we crawled
the footing getting
all

worse every minute.
Presently

It

was
a

the horse could

do to stay on the footpath. where a ledge overhung the path. To the left was a river, which, because of the light snow, had overflowed its bank, and undermined the deep snow. While the ice had not gone out of the river there were many loose cakes ready to float out at any time.
entered
caiion

we

MORE WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
I

179

stopped the horse in order to
it

a moment.

let him rest Time had been moving swiftly

and

was about four o'clock
of us

in the afternoon.
like

The roadway ahead

appeared

any

other part of the road, but unknown to us the water had crept in under the crust. We started

forward again, and just as we came to the
lowest part, close to the river, the horse broke

through the surface of the snow into the water, dragging the sleigh with us in it after him.

The water was up
bitter
cold.

to our waists
sort

and
of

it

was

It

was a wild

country.

Just above our heads, hanging from the ledge,

measuring anywhere from seventy-five to one hundred feet long. A bullet from a revolver would have loosened them, and
icicles,
it
is

were tons of

easy to imagine what would have hap-

pened to us if they had chanced to' fall. Taking off my fur coat I jumped into the slop up to my waist, and took the girl on my
back. After
to

managed
ground a

down several make my way with her
falling

times

I

to solid

bit higher

I got the sleigh it on the ground and placed her on it. We were both soaked through. It stopped raining and began to get very cold. I looked back at the horse and saw that

up on one side. robe and spread

180

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

he was struggling hard to get on solid ground. He didn't seem to gain an inch. I went

back through the slop and, harness away from the rig,
across

after cutting the tried to lead

and snow. more I tried the more he became stuck. He would struggle until exhausted, then he would In the struggle the sleigh was smashed. rest. My legs were almost numb and I jumped up and down as I tried to help the horse. It was dark by now and soon the moon came out. The wind sprang up and thin ice began to form on the water which had already covered the snow where I was trying to get the horse
the

space

of

slush

him The

out.

To make matters worse the ice began to cram down the river, and I had to push and crowd away the big cakes which threatened every minute to sweep the horse's feet from
under him. This made the water

eral times during the rush of ice I

and sevhad to lift the horse to keep him from falling. Then I heard the girl cry and I floundered half frozen back to her. When I saw that she was moving I knew that she was not freezing, so I went back to the horse again.
rise higher,

If

the horse could only go twenty-five feet

MORE WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
he would be

181

all right. I pushed down the and endeavored to make a clearing for the animal, and I worked till I could scarcely stand up. Many a time I had to hang on to the horse 's neck to keep myself from falling. The horse would struggle to release himself, and the sharp calks on his shoes cut my legs and slashed me terribly. I bear those scars to this day. I was covered with blood and the only thing I could do was to hang on to the horse's neck and rest. Then I heard the girl cry again and went back to her. The situation was getting serious in this quarter. She could not stand, she was so thoroughly chilled through. I had to pull her around roughly and fairly lick her. To keep her blood moving fast I thrashed her in good shape. I would rub snow on her legs and then I would lick her again. She would cry with the pain. This beating and pulling and rubbing kept her from freezing. Finally I placed her on the robe again and stood there wondering what I should do. I said to myself that the nearest house was four I knew that I could get there miles away.

snow and

ice

myself, but

by the time

I

returned the

girl

would be dead and probably the horse. I could not carry the girl. I had not even the

182

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
girl

looked at the

So I stood there and and looked at the horse and looked at the moon. I had a revolver in my pocket and I wondered if perhaps the best way would be to shoot the suffering horse and take a chance at saving the girl and myself. But I reasoned that the only way to save us both was to save the horse, so back I went to the aid of the poor animal. By this time ice had formed about the horse and I had to break it away all around him. He was very nearly spent but he struggled ahead with my help and gained a bit. But helpstrength to drag her.
ing the horse took every bit of strength I possessed,

and
it off.

I

began to think

I

would have

to call

seemed as if I could hardly raise my hand, and my legs were numb with the bitter cold water and slush, I hung on to the horse 's neck and gazed at the moon in despair. I cursed that moon. I cursed everything in the world. I said, "There is no God!" I laughed at the thought of prayer, and instead of praying cursed and damned everything. ''Nothing I have ever attempted has come out right," I cried. "I have been up against This it and have had to struggle all my life. is my last struggle, and I don't care.

When

it

MORE WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
myself.

183

"I'll stay with the horse," I continued to

''What

is

the difference!"

and colder. The blood running down my legs where the horse's hoofs had cut me, together with the cold and my efforts, made me so weak I could hardly hold on
It kept getting colder

to the animal's neck.

Short rests restored

my

strength and I renewed the fight.

Continually
I

slipping

and

crashing

down,
he
fell

the horse struggled forward.

When
I

would
girl

pull

him up
I

again.

Then

would hear

the

cry again.

Once when
fell

reached her side and spoke to

I lifted her up, but she back flat. Then I beat her as if I were mad and dragged her about, tearing her clothes. Then she moaned and screamed, and I knew that she was still alive.

her she did not answer.

This exercise with the

girl

did n't rest

me any,

and before I made another journey to the horse I was forced to get my breath. Again I was forced to break away the ice. The horse's legs were numb and I had to beat him to keep him struggling. I was suffering excruciating pain and I know
it

made With

a different a

man

of

me.
the
I

superhuman

effort

horse

got
that

within ten feet of sure footing.

knew

184

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

wondered

everything hung on the next struggle and I if the animal and I were equal to it.

First I went back to the girl and beat her some more. Pulling her out into the snow, I took the robe away from her and left her half

dead.

Using
it

this robe as a footing I

for the final struggle with the horse.

made ready I knew

was the last, because I realized the animal wouldn't last through another one. Neither would I. The struggle began with a thrashing of hoofs and a lashing about. Suddenly the horse gave a mighty plunge and his forward feet struck
the solid ground!
all over.

He

stood there trembling
lay there

I fell

down exhausted and

and

rested.

The

horse was entirely free now.
I got

When
to her.

my

breath I went fearfully to the
I pulled her

side of the girl.

up and spoke

"Don't I 'm Leave me here not suffering any more." I dropped her back and went after the horse.
all

"I'm

right," she said faintly.

wait for me.

Go

along.

Then
the

I led

him staggering over

to the side of

girl.

First I

would rub the limbs

of the girl,

and

MORE WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
then
I

185

same thing to the horse until I could n 't rub any more. Finally I made an attempt to throw the girl
would
start doing the

across the horse's back, but to save

my

life I

couldn't lift her up. and then try again.
sling her across,

I

would

rest a

moment
to

After trying half a dozen times I

managed
I

and

for

an instant

thought

the animal was going to cave in under her.

walking alongside, holding the
her
legs.

However, he started unsteadily ahead, with me girl by one of
I steered

him by the rough
it

places, for I

knew

if

he slumped

would be

all off.

For about a

mile our sorry trio continued until

we reached
it

a point where a narrow gauge logging railroad
crossed the footpath.
I

knew

that

would

be easier going between the rails of this track, so I led the creature onto the track, taking care that he did not stumble and fall.
three miles from the nearest was growing colder every minute. The next mile seemed an endless one. I constantly shook the girl and talked a steady stream of nothing to her to keep her mind going. Then, all of a sudden, I discovered just in time an opening bridge ahead of us, over which the horse could not possibly cross.

We

were

still

house, and

it

186

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
seemed as
if

It certainly

fate

were blocking
in the distance

me

at every point.
I

As

stood there I heard

away

the sound of a train coming.

Presently I saw
the track. the cab windows

the headlight
trains

way back down
of

In the night the engineers and firemen of these

do not look out

because they do not expect to see anything on the track in winter. I knew they would not

be watching. I tried to lead the horse off the track but he would not budge an inch. I saw that something had to be done at once. I grabbed the girl, dragged her off the
horse's back,
track.

and

laid

her

down

beside the

Walking along beside the horse during the last hour had given some of my strength back, and when the animal would not move a second time I began to push him with my shoulder. The train was quite near now, and in my frantic
efforts to get the horse off the rails I

reached

down and grabbed

his

right foot

and threw

my

Down he whole strength against him. went with a crash beside the track, and I held him down by the head so he could not get up.

How I wanted that train to stop just then! began to shout. As the train came nearer my yells were lost in the roar of the engine.
I

MORE WILDERNESS ADVENTURES
It slid past us,

187

within

a

and no one knew we were Slowly it disapthousand miles.
get

peared in the darkness.

on our v/ay again. The goal was only two miles away, and the girl was in danger of freezing every
I

knew we must

minute.

attempt to cross that bridge I left the fact, it could not be done. horse and started through the snow by the side of the track to see how far away the road might be, and discovered it was only about

— in

It

was

useless to

thirty-five feet distant.

Heaven knows it was near enough, but there was a six-foot alder brush which we would have to go through, and the snow had loaded this down with a ten-foot deep covering. I began to dig an opening, and after laborious work
tunneled
a
place

through
girl I

which the horse

could go to the road.

Upon
still.

reaching the

found her

numb and

I began beating her again, dragging her about on the track and bumping her over the

sleepers.

Then
horse.

I left the girl

again and fought with the

I finally got

to the tunnel
as this

him through the deep snow and out on to the road. As soon was done I went back to the girl and

188

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
and managed to get

carried her to the horse

her once more on his back.
It
I

didn't seem as if I could go on myself. was completely exhausted. I remember

was only a little way to the house now. I said, "I can see the house." I don't remember much that followed for a spell, but I do know that I suddenly looked up and really saw the house just ahead. The
telling the girl it

gave me new life. I kept rubbing the girl's lirnbs and telling her we were there, and encouraging her, until we reached the yard. There was a light in one of the windows. I staggered up to the door of
sight of
it

the house, fell down on the steps, and rapped. The door opened and a man appeared. I could
just talk, but I could not stand.

into the house, and the " I gasped. ''Bandage up horse into the stable,

''Take this

woman

and stop the blood. Don't ask me any questions. I'll tell you later." The girl was quickly taken into the house. I felt relieved. My job was done. I relaxed. We had just made it. I remember as I lay there on the steps thinking that it was the horse that
his legs

saved

us.

Presently the
lantern

man came up and helped me into the

to

me

with a

house.

There

MORE WILDERNESS ADVENTURES

189

was an old lady there. I just remember seeing her for an instant. I fell flat on the floor and
stared into the blazing fireplace.

The

old

man began

to ask

me

all

kinds of

questions.

"Don't ask me anything.
for

an hour, "

I

begged.
I

I

Leave me alone did not want them to

touch

me

at

all.

asked them not to touch me,
glass of cider?" the

"Won't you have a
asked quietly.

man

I didn't answer, but he disappeared and came back shortly with a dipperful of the sour stuff. It was a big, two-quart dipper and it was full. I grabbed it from his hand and drained it to the last drop. The dipper fell from my hands to the floor and I sank down in front of the
fire

a^ain.

had reached that house at eleven o 'clock, and cold. While the girl had frozen the side of her face, one hand, and the sides of her feet, she recovShe was covered with black and blue ered. places where I had beaten her and dragged her
after seven hours of torture

We

about.

The horse came through all right. With the exception of a badly cut up pair of legs I was as well as if nothing had happened
the next morning.

190

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

There in the woods during my two months' experiment this story came to me vividly, and I would always say to myself, when things seemed pretty hard to stand, "There is nothing that I am now undergoing that can compare with those seven hours eighteen years

ago."

My
swamp

experience that night I got lost in the

during

my
as

life

alone in the wilderness

was nothing
Speaking

compared to that winter's

night in the canon.

bog brings to my mind a question which has been asked me over and over again since I have come back to civilization. Scores of people have wanted to know how I stood the flies and mosquitoes while I was up there naked in the woods. Now as to the flies there were none. The last of July sees the end of flies in the woods.
of that

Anyone who knows the

forest understands this.

There were a few mosquitoes, but they were swamp land. Up on mountainside there were none at all. What the few might have found their way there would soon have been blown away by the wind. Other ^ieople have asked me what I did on
to be found only in the

rainy days.

Rainy days were

just the

same

to

me

as

MORE WILDERNESS ADVENIURES
any other days.
the sHghtest.

191
in

The

rain did not bother
it,

me

My body got used to

and there

was no danger of my taking cold. The hundred and one questions asked me by women on the train when I was coming down through Maine to Boston amused me not a little. After explaining to them that I had entered
the wilderness without a single thing but

my

naked

self,

and emphasizing the
questions would

fact

by nam-

ing one thing after another that I did without,

the following
in

come pouring

on me:

"How

did you keep your matches dry in

wet weather?" "Weren't you frightened when you hid in that hole and waited for a bear to come along?" "You must have been a good shot to kill
that deer!"

"Were

the other

men who went

into the

woods with you good company?" When I replied that I had no matches, that I did not stand in a hole and wait for a bear, that I had no gun, and that other men did
not go into the wilderness with not seem to understand
I quickly
it.

me

they could

saw I had a campaign of woodland education on my hands, especially for the
ladies.

192

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
me man is

But, just the same, experience has taught
since the experiment that the average

a close second in regard to a meager knowledge
of the

woods and nature.

To my mind, no matter how finely educated or well versed a man may be in booklore, he is
not complete unless there
in his
is

a touch of nature

makeup.

CHAPTER

XIII

THE WORLD AND THE WILDERNESS
In this particular chapter
tention
living
is

it

is

not

my

in-

to

state

that

our present

mode

of

wrong.

Rather, I will simply give

my
I

opinion of the subject, formed by constant comparative thoughts which came to me while

was living alone in the wilderness. Every man has a right to his opinion, and

every man's opinion should be respected because it is his honest point of view.

According to
is

my

opinion the
is

way

the world
Civili-

living at present

entirely wrong.

zation has carried us along to a point where,

through custom and habit, we are accepting an artificial life rather than a natural one.

Commercialism and the mad desire to make money have blotted out everything else, and as a result we are not living, but merely existing. The boy in school is being taught that above all else he must make a success of life, and that success is reckoned by society on the basis
of

what a man

is

capable of earning.
193

194

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
beings are so obsessed with this idea
little

Human

that they find

time to look at the trees

and the sky. As a result, nature, the one thing that is more essential than all the rest, is
sadly neglected.

However,
our

I

am

optimistic.

I

believe that

unnatural

living

has

reached
to
I

a

point
that

where people are beginning
nature
is

realize

indeed being neglected.

believe

that civilization will turn back to nature and enjoy her countless benefits. Under our present mode of living a parent

has been deserted, for nature dren back to nature

is

our real mother.
their chil-

Mothers and fathers should take

Here they should allow them to play and live and learn a great many things which they will
the woods.

— to

never forget.

By

doing this the parent will be
of
it.

inculcating the love

nature in the child,

rather than the fear of

Perhaps some parents can't understand this, but I would advise letting children live as they want to out-of-doors. By so doing they will
learn to feel things,

and

feeling things

is

what

makes

character.

Let the children play out in the rain and in the snow. They will not catch cold. If a child is cold he will run around and get warm.

THE WORLD AND THE WILDERNESS
and he
will

195

Presently his flesh will become hard and firm

be the picture of rugged health.

After awhile he will not notice the cold.

Under the present conditions the parent lets snow and rain for a short time, and then calls him into the house, saythe child play in the
ing, perhaps,

that

it

is

getting

too cold for

the child to be out.

Children are bundled up,

and put into comfortable beds with extra coverings to ward off any
given hot drinks,
possible cold.
If

a draft of God's pure air

happens to sweep across the bed, the parent window. is the worst way in the world to bring That up children. Give them all the comfort possible in regard to clothing, but do not be afraid to let them expose themselves to the
fearfully closes the

weather.

Years ago, when I was a boy,
ing of going
in

I

thought noth-

down
I

to

the

spring in winter

my

bare

feet.

used to keep moving and

the snow did not
to the house
toast

harm them.

When

I got

back

my feet would be as warm as and as red as fire. I remember one winter when regularly for six weeks I used to go out in the snow each morning with nothing on my body and race through the snow for half a mile or more. It

196

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

might have been zero or below zero it did n't matter. So long as I kept going I was all right. When I went back into the house my body would burn all over like fire. The blood was coursing through my veins and I was
putting myself in fine shape.

Being out in the fresh air part of the time and locked up in a house full of impure air the rest of the time constitutes a radical change. It is these sudden changes that bring on pneu-

monia and other diseases. Do not pay much attention
for fear

to your children

they
they

may

catch

cold

out-of-doors.

That
cold.

fear of yours
If

may

result in the

dreaded

feel cold

they will instinctively

move

about.

bed and begin to cry that they are cold, let them cry. Don't pay any attention to them. So long as they keep up
If children are in

screaming they are

all right.

When

they get

up

in the

morning they may look a

little tired,

but you will notice that they usually good breakfast.

will eat

an un-

The

child

who

is

given

all

the luxury of a

steam-heated room free from drafts, instead of
sleeping practically dies during the night

comes to

life

again in the morning.

and These

children are like tender

young

plants.

They

THE WORLD AND THE WILDERNESS
have no appetites.
to them.

197

Breakfast means nothing

same children and send them outair, and when dinner time comes they will eat heartily. They will have lived for a brief time the way nature meant them to live. This means living out-of-doors all the time and exercising.
these
of-doors to play for hours in the open
I

Take

believe because of this great neglect
is

of

nature that the world

growing weaker and
beings
are

weaker,
sufferers.

and
I

that

human

the

people, I

do not wish to thrust my ideas upon glad to be able to contribute all that I have learned in my way of living; and I honestly feel that if they heed some of the advice and believe in me they will benefit
While

am

greatly in health.
I ate in the woods only when I 'felt like it and when circumstances brought me in contact with things to eat. When there was nothing in sight I did not eat. I had no regular breakfast time. Just because it was the first thing in the morning I did not eat.

Because civilization has got the idea that everyone should eat at noon does not prove that it is the time to eat.
,

It

was the same at night;

I

had no accepted

198

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
If I

was not hungry I did not eat. When I was hungry I naturally drifted to a place where I could relieve my hunger.
supper time. People of the civilized
life drift

into hotels

and restaurants at so-called meal times because they have been accustomed to enter such places Nine times out of ten at those times before.
they are not really hungry.

A man
will eat.

sits

down

to the table, picks
in a worried

up the

menu, and wonders

way what he

Lie says it is the same thing over and over again, and he makes a great fuss in the ordering. If that person were truly hungry and normal he would order anything. Some days in the woods I may have eaten twenty times a day; on other days I would Nothing was regular with not eat a thing. me. I had no regular time to sleep. I simply

drifted along the easiest walks of

life

in the

wilderness and accepted everything as I found
it;

and

I

always used the easiest methods in

obtaining food, shelter, and comfort.

The finest banquet I could sit down to means nothing to me. I care nothing for all the fine wine and so-called good things to eat in the world. I never give them a thought.
It
is

the people

who

are seated around the

table with their interesting faces that absorb

THE WORLD AND THE WILDERNESS

199

my
'^

attention.

I

never
eat.
I

know under such
is

con-

ditions

what

to

never anticipate the
served,

delicious"

crabmeat, or whatever
it.

before I eat

There
epicure.

is

nothing more

pitiful to

me

than an

Our whole system

is

a waste of good time.
necessary
are
to

How much
satisfy

time

is

absolutely
I

our hunger?

claim

we

selfish

when we waste two or three hours of our time at a social meal when we could be accomplishing so much" for the surrounding world.

Of course,
has nothing
in the world

if

a

man

else to
is

is not a worker and do perhaps the best thing

to let

him eat himself

to death.

drawing room, where women clad in beautiful gowns mingle with men suffer-

The

society

ing in starched linen,
ing stale
air, is

all of

whom

are breath-

a sad picture as compared with

the great natural rooms of the forest where

man

lives

with as few clothes as possible.

Surely the reader will acknowledge that the
fresh air of the forest
is

more invigorating than

the air under the plastered ceilings of drawing

rooms, where the odors of Florida water and

talcum powder and pungent perfumes almost
stifle

one.

I realize that past generations

have created

200
in the
ficial,

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
minds
but
I

of

some a demand
that,

for things arti-

even before this habit and taste were formed, way back hundreds of years ago there existed an instinct for the natural life which even in the people of to-day is struggling once again to come into its own.
feel

I believe that the great

outdoor movement,
all

which

is

gaining strength
is

over the country

at present,
as a result

catering to this instinct and that

much of the artificial life will be wiped out. There is no place for style in the woods. There was not much style about me during my two months' isolation. There is no place for style
in the natural order of things.
style
I believe that

retards
of.

life

more than men or women
is

dream

Modern

civilization

a creation of

man
I

not of God.

Nature

is

God's creation.

do

not think, and never will believe, that God intended us to live as we are living in these civi-

Our civilization has brought us something worse than the barbaric. Do not misunderstand me and think I am criticising the academic side of things. Far from it. I believe every man and woman
lized times.

should get every bit

of

education possible,

but

I

do not think

this education should

be

THE WORLD AND THE WILDERNESS

201

obtained at the expense of true living. Better to me is a normal life and less education than

an abnormal

and too much education. In a succeeding chapter I will tell you how
life

going without clothing in
benefited

all

kinds of weather
I

that the
ing.

me human

in the forest.

am
or

convinced

being needs
in the

little

no

cloth-

All I
I

had

woods was

my

naked

skin.

was perfectly comfortable under those

circumstances.
So-called custom

makes

it

necessary for a

wear a sweltering hot coat in the presence of women even during the hottest days Such a thing is ridiculous. The in summer.
to

man

skin needs air just as

much

as the lungs.

At the very
tendency to

start of life parents

have the
with
tender

overclothe

their

children,

the result that boys and girls are
in the beginning so that
it is

made

necessary to bundle

them up all their lives. A slip-up in their dress, and they are taken sick. Had these same children been hardened in the beginning they would have grown steadily
healthier.

In this civilized life we have altogether too much. We have vastly more than we need more than is good for us.

Recently the great question of the high cost

202

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
has arisen.
It

of living

seems to

me

it is

not

the question of the high cost of living, but the

question of the high standard of living.

Years ago families did not have electricity in their houses, nor telephones, nor steam-heat, nor tiled bathrooms. Seldom if ever did they go to the theater.

And nowadays
is

they are wondering

why

it

so hard to get along.

People do not stop

to think that these luxuries are the cause of

stringency in the family purse.

Years ago the wife went to market with a market basket on her arm. Society considers such a thing as common to-day. The grocery and provisions man delivers things at your door, and you are the one who pays for that
delivery.

Meat used
ping paper.

to

come done up
for

in

Now
first,

the butcher does

brown wrapit up in

waxed paper
has to pay.

All these things are luxuries

which also the consumer which

we could

easily get along without.

We

are

too dependent upon other people

though we could do them perfectly well if we chose. When I was in the woods I could not telephone down to any market and tell the butcher to bring me up some deer-meat. I had to go
to do things for ourselves,

THE WORLD AND THE WILDERNESS

203

and hunt up my deer for myself. And I had to kill it and cut the meat off, before carrying Some of that it to my fire and cooking it. meat looked pretty black after I got through
roasting
it,

but

it

contained just as
just as

much

nutriif

ment, and did
it

me

much

good, as
platter,

had been served on a white
In the mind
of the

gar-

nished with parsley.

housewife

who
is

is

about

more to to entertain, a dainty-looking table be desired than nutritious food which she
According to the present mode of entertaining things must look "nice" even though all hands who partake of the spread
serves to her guests.

may
I

die of acute indigestion.

ask the reader the next time he goes into
electric car to

study the different advertisspread from one end of the ing signs, which With the exception of percar to the other.

an

haps a bread

sign,

every one of the other things

which, according to the advertisements themselves, ''you can't get along without," is pure
luxury.

You
're

don't actually need any of the
unless

things advertised.

''You

not

correct

you

wear

Chokem's

Collars,"

reads one.

Who, other

than the Chokem Collar concern, says you No one. Yet the public are not correct?

204

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
and Chokem Collars become

take the bait
the rage.

Women wear the most outlandish rigs because someone says it is the style. The people of
to-day are style-crazy.

They

willingly
if

themselves appear ridiculous

in their

make own

minds they know they are wearing something that everybody else is wearing. To me it seems as if they miss the point. I should be tempted to wear what everyone else wasn't wearing, and not be classed with the

human

mimickers.

In the woods, just because a trapper picks up it in his hat you don't worry your heart out until you find a feather just like it to put in your hat.
a feather and sticks

Close to nature such absurdities do not exist.

A man

uses just

what he

finds,

and he generally

finds all he needs.

By this I do not mean that women should n't have pretty things. I believe they should, and feel that such a desire has been instinctive way back through the ages. But there is no
excuse for their going to extremes just because

someone There

else does.
is

another side to this question of
Personally I enjoy

simple living, and that concerns the regulating
of the housewife's duties.

THE WORLD AND THE WILDERNESS
the simplest kind of a
is
life.

205
life

The humble
life.

the true
I

life

and the healthy
in

having a great mansion and decorated, nor in entertaining lavishly. This entertaining does no good in the world, and life is too short for such a waste of time.
elaborately

do not believe

furnished

I

should like to live in a very simple bungafar of

low or log cabin,
noise

enough away from the
cities

and smell

smoky

so

that

I

could think and work along the lines that I

enjoy the best.

would wish her to have all the freedom in the world. I would never dictate to a wife of mine, and I should not want her to dictate to me. If she was not what I thought her to be before I married her, and she continued to live with me, I would make her come up to my ideal. I should not attempt to do this through nagging, sarcasm, or quarreling, but simply by minding my own business and setting her an example. I would not interfere with her in any way. I believe in absolute freedom of thought and action. All that we possess in the world is what God gave us, and that constitutes our life. Why should anyone attempt to dictate to us, or
If I

had a companion

I

206

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

movements? When a person does this he is selfish, and is trying to use something Not being which does not belong to him.
direct our
satisfied
it

with the

life

God gave him, he shows

by not having
All
I

respect for the freedom of

others.

ask

for

in

this

life

is

my

freedom
in

and

my

liberty such

as I

had there

the

wilderness.

Just as I have said that children should live
close to nature, so

do

I believe

the same thing

as applied to

women.

No man

should expect

woman to slave at housework which would have the tendency to keep her constantly cona
fined to the house.

A woman
air,

needs plenty of fresh,

outdoor

yet the majority of them are so
their

worn out

by

done they spending sit down as much time as possible in the open air. Ninetenths of the nervous trouble among women to-day is caused by a lack of fresh air and
it is

housework that when

to read or sew, instead of

exercise.

We have but to take our lessons in health from the wild animals. They are always outof-doors and they are continually exercising. They have no luxuries. During my experiment I lived as the animals

THE WORLD AND THE WILDERNESS
lived in the forest.
I

207

was a part

of the wilder-

ness that surrounded me.

To-day, as a result of that experience,
far healthier

I

am

than I was when

I

went into the

Maine woods.
I can't say too

much

in favor of walking.

Anybody but a

cripple can walk,

and

it

is

a

good habit to get. To-day people can't

set

foot

out-of-doors

without riding in a street car or an automobile. There are many times when they might walk

and enjoy needed exercise which spells health. For two months I walked continually about the forest, and all the time I was doing this I was putting myself in splendid condition. I had no one to wait on me. I was not a hangeron. A hanger-on in the wilderness would starve to death. When I wanted some berries I couldn't ask I had to go and pick them. anyone to pass me the berries. I was absolutely dependent upon myself, and this condition proved of tremendous benefit to me.
In our civilized
life

when a man

is

"down

and out," what does he do? He immediately hunts up his friends to aid him. He does not realize what he could do for himself if he would only try.

The animals

of the

woods, when they are

208

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
They
creep

hungry, do not go to other animals to borrow
food.

away
to

alone,

and by
this

their
it.

own

resources locate their food and fight for

Civilization

needs

learn

lesson
else.

of

self-dependence more than anything

The

people of to-day need to stop leaning on the
other fellow for what they want.
selves,
if

they only knew
of.

it, is

Within thema power they do

not dream

CHAPTER XIV
TRAPPING AND WOODCRAFT

When

I

entered the wilderness on August

fourth, nineteen

hundred and thirteen, I placed entire dependence upon my knowledge of the woods, which I had gained from practical exIn the preliminary catechising
in the undertaking.
of

perience.

myself I could think of nothing that would
block
I

me
or
I

had never read any books on the primitive
the
primitive
life.

man
what
I
felt

I

simply

knew
and

had been forced

to do in the past,

that such knowledge would carry

me

through, as proved to be the case.

knowledge of woodcraft can never be gained through the reading of books. While certain methods can be described in this manner, the reader will never grasp the true
spirit of the subject unless

A

he has the practical

experience to go with
tical
If

it.

A

little of this

prac-

experience goes a long way.
a

man

is

really interested,

his year-by-

year contact with the woods will aggregate
209

210

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
in the forest a

a considerable amount of knowledge.

he
of

is

man
the

is

While not making a study
of

nature

through
is

medium
the
great,

type-set

pages, but he

gradually absorbing the real
big,

fundamentals

book

of

nature — the

through

open

one natural textbook,
the trees, the

written on

the mountainside,

surface of the waters,

and in the thicket, by the Almighty. the greatest author of them all attempting to give you a little insight In

into the fascination of woodcraft I will begin

by touching upon the various
are to be found
[^

trails

which
natural

all

over the woods. kinds
of
trails:

There

are

many

game

trails,

and those made by man.

How-

ever, all trails are very

much
it

alike.

In every

instance a

trail,

whether

be made by

man

or animal, follows through the wilderness, over

streams, along the line of least resistance.

When
the

a

man
way.

builds his

camp

in a virgin

country he makes his
easiest
If

trail to

the spring along

an animal had come and started from the site there years before, of this same camp, he would have made a
trail to this

same spring exactly the same as simply because it was the the man made it

easiest

way

to

make

it.

The spotted

or blazed trail, like the others,

TRAPPING AND WOODCRAFT
follows this line of least resistance.
trail is

211

not a trampled

trail.

It

is

The blazed a trail made

by
go,

spots on the trees with an ax.

left as the land may but always keeping one point of the compass in mind, the man in making a blazed trail marks a spot or a blaze on a tree with his ax. From the last blaze he looks ahead,

Swinging to the right or

singles out another tree,
it

and when he reaches

makes another blaze there.
forest,

On

he goes

through the

making a spot here and
easily follow a blazed
all

there in this manner.

Even the amateur can
trail.

When

he comes to a spotted tree

left until

he has to do is to look ahead to the right or he sees another blazed tree. Upon reaching that he goes through the same performance.
the

Thus he goes from

tree to tree all

way along the trail. To return to the natural game

trails:

these

are worn through the process of one animal after another drifting along over the same ground. They use the same route through
trails

the forest because that

is

the easiest

way

to go.

The woods are full of these trails. Marks in snow| tell the trapper

that

an

animal has passed, but his knowledge, gained from experience, allows him a more complete

212

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
it

understanding, and by
disturbances
all

he can interpret the
trail.

along the

By

observing the lay of the land the experi-

enced trapper who comes upon undergrowth and ferns understands why the path is zigzagged.

He
ahead

is

able to

tell

what kind

of

of

him by the

size of the tracks

an animal is and by

the distance between the steps.

studying the shrubbery the trapper can determine what the animal has eaten, and if

By

he knows what the various animals feed upon it will be easy for him to tell just what sort of
creature has preceded him, without seeing
at
all.

it

There is always some sign along the trail, and the experienced man can never go wrong. Marks of antlers on the bark of trees point out the direction a deer or moose has taken. The man who knows the woods is always at home in the forest. He always knows north from south without the aid of a compass.

He

is

sure of himself in regard to direction,

knowing that moss always grows on the north
side of trees.

The woodsman
of the sun means.

also
If

knows what the
he
is

situation

forced to travel

any

distance on rainy days the moss acts as his

TRAPPING AND WOODCRAFT
compass.
I

213

The moss was the only compass

had during
If a

my
is

sixty-mile

tramp through the

wilderness to Canada.

man

traveling through the forest a

number

of miles to a certain point,

and he
wild

is

acquainted
line.

with

the

woods

and

life,

he does not always travel in a perfectly straight

He

allows himself to drift along the trails

of least resistance,

keeping in his mind
is

all

the

while the point of the compass he
for.

headed

For instance,

if

he strikes a

trail

that bears
is

to the northeast,

and

his destination

directly

north, he can follow this trail to the northeast
for miles,

he

is

aiming

which goes partly in the direction for. Doing this he is always on
trail

the lookout for the next

along the line of

least resistance bearing straight

north or even
trail

northwest.

If it is

a northwest
it

that turns

up, he knows,

by following

along for some

his course or

back to even crossed it to the westward of north. Consequently he knows that north is still to the east of him. Of course, under such circumstances he watches for trails, as he walks along, which lead to the east or north of the
distance, that he has brought himself
trail

that he

is

following.
forest

Thus by zigzagging through the

on the

214

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
for.

natural trails of the least resistance he finally reaches the point he started

In a country with which a acquainted there
is

man

is

fairly well

no

difficulty

in

finding

water at any time. Even at the time you need water you are unconsciously walking along a natural game trail

go in a straight course over the tops and underbrush and through the tangles to find water.

that leads to water.

It isn't necessary to

Simply follow the natural game trails in the forest, from the smaller to the larger ones, and such a course will always lead you to water or a camp. Perhaps the questions may arise: Why do
these big trails lead

you to water? And why do the trails get bigger? Because these trails always lead to something, and the constant
frequenting of them by animals makes
bigger.

them

They

lead the animals to something,

or there

wouldn't be any big trail there. Anything that is good for the animal is good

for the

human

being.

In a word,
is

all

a

man

has got to do in the wilderness
perfect

to live in

harmony with
resist

his

surroundings.

He
and

has n't got to
It
is

anything.
current.

n't necessary to walk into a stream

wade up against the

BuUd

a crude

TRAPPING AND WOODCRAFT
craft

215

and

you

will

downstream with the current; get a whole lot more out of it.
float

In building a fire always kindle it to the lee of your lean-to, so that the smoke of the fire won't pour into your camp and smother you.

would pick the site of a camp in the open, under the shelter of spruce or cedar, or some
I

other black-growth timber.
shelter, for all the

This

is

perfect
fall

dew

or frost that

would

during the night would land on the limbs of
trees.

On
dry,

the

spills

under the trees

it

is
it

always

no matter how damp or frosty
This

may

be

outside.

black-growth timber protects

it from frost, fog, and dampwhich come from the atmosphere. The black timber absorbs all this as nourishment for itself. This explains why under black-growth timber there is never any sign of vegetable life nothing but dry, dead, decayed vegetation and spills that have fallen the year before. There is not a thing in the forest, dead or Even the alive, but what is of some use. They can be dead leaves are invaluable. used to kindle fires, and also to make a fine top

the ground beneath

ness,

covering for a forest bed.
early in the

The trapping season in the woods starts fall when fur is getting good and

216

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
The

prime.

trapping lines
tion

— a territory extending for miles
— that
This trapping line secis

trappers

have what they

call

through the country.
is

"baited up"
is

to say, food liked

by the animals
bear, muskrat,

scattered about through the

district in order to get the fox,

mink, otter, sable,
there.

and beaver coming

Then

the setting of the traps begins.

The

trapper does not work according to the eight-

Sometimes he is up and morning and continues working until after dark at night. After the catch the skins are fleshed and stretched and dried in camp. Without tanning
hour-day schedule.

away

at four o'clock in the

they are sent direct to market.

Anyone who devotes his whole time to trapping, and understands his business, can make as much as three thousand dollars a year. A five-dollar license at present allows any resident of the State of Maine to catch all furbearing animals in any place in the state during the respective open seasons.

As
will

to the

various

start with

the bear.

modes of trapping, I The most modern
is

and up-to-date way to catch a bear
steel

to use a

Newhouse

trap.

The Newhouse

trap

weighs about twenty pounds,

heavy

steel springs

and has two which control two heavy

o
o O
W

*^

'^ Si

6^

TRAPPING AND WOODCRAFT
steel-toothed jaws.

217

Attached to this is a chain about four feet long with a ring on the end. This ring is to fit over a piece of timber ten feet long and four inches in diameter, which is
called a clog.

This clog
close

is

used so that when the steel jaws
leg

on the bear's
if

he

will

drag

it

along.
will will

As
"leg

long as he can
going, but

make headway he
gnaw

keep

he finds himself fast he
his escape.
If

himself," or, in other words,
foot

off his

own

and make

a bear starts the
progress, he

trap and finds that he can

make

will work all kinds of ways to clear himself from any tangle he gets into. But you will

always find him in a Newhouse trap. In trapping a bear in this manner bait
necessary.

is

Anything
is

in

the

way

of fish,

or
all

fresh or stale meat,
is

good, but best of

the carcass of another bear.

Another way to trap a bear
use of a deadfall.

is
is

through the
built of logs.

The

deadfall

First place a bed-log so that

it lies

about one

and

one-half

feet

above

the

ground.

Next

drive four long, heavy sticks into the ground,

two on each
feet apart.

side of the bed-log

and about eight

In the

slots

between these
is

sticks another log,

called the drop-log,

placed upon the bed-log.

218

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
it is
is

At one end
prop, which

raised

up and supported by a
loaded with four or five

known

as a figure four.

Then

this top-log is

other logs, these logs fitting into the slots

made

by the extending
logs are

sticks.

Among
is

trappers these

known

as the load.

The

bait for this trap

placed on the back

of the deadfall,
sticks in such a

and

is

protected by brush and
it

way

that

can only be reached

from the front of the deadfall. The bait is likewise put at such a distance that the bear will have to step over the logs before he can
reach
it.

When

he pulls the bait, the trap
falls

is

sprung

and the drop-log between the logs.

and crushes the animal

method, and one used by the Indian squaws to trap grizzly bears in the west, is to dig a pit in the ground and build a deadfall of logs and stones above it. When the* trap is sprung the bear is buried in the pit under the heavy load. This kind of a pit and deadfall is similar to the one I used to trap my bear during my wilderness experiment. If I had had an ax would have built a regular deadfall. As it I
older

An

was, I was forced to use what loose material
I

found about me.

With

this

rough material

"

TRAPPING AND WOODCRAFT

£10

I constructed a combination pit and deadfall which caught the bear alive. The only difference between my trap and the one used by the squaws was that my trap

did not crush the

life

out of the animal.
Partridges

In a previous chapter I have explained one

way
is

of catching a partridge.

may

also be trapped in a snare, just as a rabbit

caught.

The snare can be made out
materials

of

many

different

that grow in the woods.
will

Even

grass

and roots

make

strong snares,

and the lining bark of the cedar. In making a snare make a loop with a slipnoose in it. Bend a little bush over the trail, and fasten this bush in a notch made on
another bush.
bush, and
trail.

hang

Attach the loop to the bent it just a little above the
or

When

a partridge

rabbit

touches

this

snare, in attempting to pass through, he brings

a strain on the bent bush, which is released with a swish, catching the quarry by the neck

and dangling him over the

trail.

It is a cowardly thing to snare a deer, but it can easily be done. A man who gets a deer in this way, or in a bear trap, is called a ''pot

hunter.

By making

a snare out of rawhide, and using

220

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
it is it is

a larger tree for a spring,

just as easy to

hang a deer

in the trail as

a rabbit. a stream and

The trapping of mink is The trapper goes alongside
digs a hole in the bank.
forces

a different story.
of

Into this hole he

some

stale fish or other bait.
is

Then he

places his steel trap, which

attached by a
of this hole.

chain to a hitcher, at the

mouth

The
dirt

trap and hitcher are well covered

up with

and

leaves.

The mink,

in trying to get

at the bait in the hole, steps on the hidden

trap and

is

caught.

To
set

catch these animals in the lake country,
in

water on a flat rock or a natural stepping place, which the mink would use in coming from the water.
of

your trap

about two feet

The

placing of the bait close

by

entices the
falls

animal, who, coming

by way

of

your trap,

a victim.

Beaver castor, the essence of the seven barks which the beaver eats, is very penetrating, and a little of this spread in the
vicinity of the traps will attract the animals

very quickly. Catching the otter is somewhat more difficult. If he is going upstream he always goes through
the biggest swell of water.
Otters breast themselves
against

the flow

TRAPPING AND WOODCRAFT

221

of water and push themselves over the falls with their hind feet until they reach another

flow,

and so

on.
feet,

which they use very little, are so small that a trap would slip off one in a second. They must be caught by the powerful hind legs. Place a trap below the flow in about eight inches of water, and attach the chain of the trap to a hitcher which has been put out in deep water. For this particular, hitcher a limb is chosen with its branches, which are trimmed down to about an inch in length, pointing downward. Thus the ring of the hitcher can go down over these small projections, but it cannot be
Their front
pulled up.

When

the otter starts to push himself over

the flow he pushes his foot into the trap and immediately dives, pulling the ring down the
stick. Then the sunken hitcher holds him under water where he drowns. In case the otter is coming downstream the trap is set just below the flow. Not being in sympathy with the wholesale slaughter of animals through our system of hunting to-day, I will not dwell at length on that particular side of wood life. However, Anything that the I wish to say just a word.

222

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

law allows a hunter to do is accepted by everybody to be fair. For the mere payment of so much money to
authorities hunters are allowed to go into the forest with rifles and rapid-fire

the state

guns and kill a stipulated number of deer and moose. But they can't do this unless they pay so much money. Such practices are not in accord with nature. They are not in harmony with the great outof-door movement, and are of no benefit to
the people.

The

killing of

animals for the mere sport of

it

Let woodsmen and campers kill game only when they are forced to do so out of necessity. There should never be a law prohibiting the killing of animals for use in case of necessity. The animal has not got a square deal when
should be absolutely stopped.

he

is

pitting his craft against that of the hunter

with a gun.

when meat
conditions

or skin

The gun should only be used is necessary. Under such
is

its

use

perfectly
it

fair.

So-called sport as

exists to-day is

nothing

more than the
animals.

instinct in

man
is

to kill inferior

What

pleasure

there in putting a

bullet through a running deer?
kill

Why does a man

a deer?

TRAPPING AND WOODCRAFT
After
single
all

223

my life

in the forest I

have not got a

animal head or anything

like that in

my

home. I would rather know that the animals were roaming free in their natural haunts. Instead, I have some photographs of the inhabitants of the wilderness which I prize more highly than any trophy obtained by trap, snare, or rifle. These photographs were taken down streams in the darkness of night, under the jacklight, in the deep snows in winter, where the animals live in yards, and along the trails in the open places. While I have killed much game for various reasons, I have passed hundreds of wild animals by when I could easily have slaughtered them. Friends with me have said, " Why did n't

you take a shot at that fellow?" I would reply to them by saying, "I would
rather see a wild animal running than falling."

CHAPTER XV
THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIMENT

The tremendous

interest manifested
of

by the
mine
is

people broadcast in this experiment

most gratifying to me.

This interest has as-

sumed

larger proportions than I

dreamed could
I

be possible.

While

I

personally realized the

great benefits to be derived from nature,

thought that in the busy rush of life a majority of the people would not find time to consider
the subject.
interest in the outdoor

before,
fit I

and

if

However, there seems to be more movement than ever my small effort has been of beneoutdoor movement will
I

am

satisfied.

I believe this great

lead to an entirely different line of education.
believe that
it

will

studied outside of plastered walls and

open a new book, which can be away from
is

the unnatural light of gas or electricity. It

not

a book of black-typed information, but the great

book

of

nature with
there
is

To me

fundamental teachings. not only an education in nature
its

but a religion as

well.

My
224

God

is

in the wilder-

THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIMENT
ness.

225

The

great open book of nature

is

my

religion.

My church is the church of
who

the forest.

I

am

convinced that he

lives close to the

teachings of nature lives closer to the
creation than those of the civilized

God of life who

wrangle over the different doctrines handed down from one people to another.

There
is

is little

thought attached to these va-

rious doctrines.

The
is

child of a Baptist father
is

a Baptist simply because his father

a Bapis

tist.

That

child

a Baptist before he

born.

Our

religions are created for us

even before we

exist,

and when we arrive on earth we follow
a part of our family tree.

the teachings of the particular group of people

who have made up
Religion of this kind

is nothing more than habit. The true teachings of God cannot be obtained by reading in books the thoughts of other men. They may be understood only by living, feeling,

seeing,

and being a part of your surroundings. Nature is a religion where all people can meet on common ground. The mere fact that differences of opinion exist in the various sects and creeds shows that something is wrong with the
different types of religion accepted

by

different

types of people.

In nature the proximity of the

Almighty

is

indisputable

— His

teachings here
all.

are within the understanding of

226

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
many
is

People of civilization follow religious trails, but the real trail
himself,

kinds of

the one

made

and that trail is nature. Those by God reading this great book and following this trail will one day come out at the destination they hope and dream about. As to an education, there is much in nature that cannot be obtained through school and This part of knowledge is, I college courses. claim, a vital part of man's education. Such a knowledge puts the man in such a condition of physical health that he can go back to his other studies and duties with far greater effect. The more he studies nature the more he will continue
to study her, because in that studying he will

come
as he

to realize that he

is

truly living

— living

was meant to live in the beginning. The man who yearly gets farther and farther away from nature in his abnormal struggle for wealth and luxury is well along the road that leads to the destruction of health. Such men
are tearers

down

of future generations.

In the beginning it was my ambition and hope to establish beyond the question of a doubt that a man could enter the woods and live the primitive life successfully. I wanted to demonstrate that a man could live without leaning on
the other fellow, and that within himself there

THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIMENT

227

were ways to get along without the slightest aid save from nature.

Nature had allowed men to exist before, away back when the world was young, and I said to
myself that in spite of the handicaps of
ages would more than
deficiency.
civiliza-

tion the extra intelligence gained through the

make up

for the physical

mine into the wilderness means The day I came forth from the woods was the beginning of a new
trip of

That

that I was literally born again.

life for

me.

During had never
things.
I

my

life

in the

world of civilization

I

really given the time to think

about
all

never really stopped to consider
I

the great advantages of nature.

never

re-

viewed

in

my mind

the various experiences I
I

had had

in previous years in the woods.

did not stop to consider the
things that I

many

interesting

knew about

animals, trapping,

hunting, and woodcraft.

These two months in the forest I sat time and time again in front of my campfire and really thought for the first time in my life. It seemed as if every experience I ever had came back to me in the most minute detail. This made my brain worth something to me. In a word, my two months in the woods have been a wonderful

228

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
The experiment made me
find

education.
self.

my-

It

gave

me

perfect health.

It

demon-

strated to

me that there were thousands of things

in our present so-called civilized life that are

unnecessary; in fact foolish, ridiculous, wasteful practices

that stand in reality for nothing.

It established for

me

the realization that peo-

and that luxury is making great inroads on the mind and health. My friends know that the notoriety, which perhaps has come as a result of this experiment, means nothing to me. I have always aspired to do my part in the world, if I could but make a start. For every man it is a hard thing to start. I made up my mind one day that I would get such a start. Then the idea of this trip came to me just as I have previously deple are slaves to luxury,

scribed
I

it.

I

am glad that the idea stuck with me, and am glad that I gave the time to think it out.
that perhaps I was doing some-

The thought

thing was an incentive, although
in the forest I

many

times

wondered

just

what the people

on the outside were saying about the experiment. Perhaps the experiment will demonstrate to the man who is lost in the woods that all is not Perhaps the thought that I existed for lost. two months without the slightest aid may help

THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIMENT
a

229

man under
so.

such circumstances.

I sincerely

hope

The one thing
than the
question.
rest,

that stands out more strongly
is

perhaps,

the health side of the

about myself just as I would tell the story about any man because I believe the comparative values to be of vital
I

mention

this

interest.

July thirtieth, just before I left for the Northern Maine country, I was examined by

On

Dr. Dudley Allen Sargent, physical director of

Harvard University. At that time Doctor
following statement:

Sargent

made

the

"I have made a thorough physical examination of Joseph Knowles of Boston, and from
the results I
for

am

certain that

if

it

is

possible
experi-

any human being to accomplish the
it.

ment, Knowles can do

''His attempt to live like a primeval

man

will

have a
tical

scientific value.

It will also

value,

depending in
it is

have a pracextent on what he

actually accomplishes in the woods.
''I

believe

possible for

man

to revive

many

things which he has lost during the prog-

There is no question that in our advancement from primeval life we have dropped through disuse a great deal of natural
ress of civilization.

230

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
artificial life

knowledge; our

has robbed us of

some

of

our greatest powers and has stunted
'

others.

getting-back-to-nature movement,' have consistently indorsed, and which is now gaining ground everywhere, is turning the tide backward. Out-of-door life is to-day being demonstrated as the ideal and natural life

"The

which

I

for

human beings. "The attempt of Knowles
off

to live entirely

cut

from

civilization is a further

move

in the

right direction,

and

it

reaches the fundamentals.

Few men
of living,

dare attempt such a sweeping change

and few men are equipped physically Still fewer men have the previous knowledge of the woods which is
to accomplish the result.

necessary.

"However, the object lesson

of

success in living independently in the

any man's woods for

months would be
enter forests.
taining.
it

of great value to people
lost

A

He

should

who man should be self-susknow how. To know that

had been done would give him assurance, and any actual experience under these circumstances should furnish him with methods.

i

"We will
of a

be interested to

know how

the lack

of salt will affect

Knowles and to find the effect sudden change of diet from city fare to wild

THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIMENT
things.

231

We

want

to

know how

his wild life will

affect his physical condition, his weight,

and

his

measurements.
his

How greatly the

cold will affect
is

comfort after he becomes inured

also in-

teresting to science.

"When Knowles
two months

returns to Boston after his

in the woods I will again make a complete examination, and by comparison with
his condition

when he

entered, will be able, I

what effect his experiment has had. ''When I examined him he showed considerable fat, which will aid him in resisting the cold. He had a remarkable vitality and much reserve energy, and was altogether fit for the experiment. "I fully believe that, with his previous experience to aid him, he should be able to accomthink, to say
plish his experiment."

On
ton, I

October ninth, the day I arrived in Bos-

was again examined by Doctor Sargent; and the comparison between the two examinations was most interesting. In commenting on my examination after coming from the woods Doctor Sargent said: "Knowles is in the pink of condition, if ever
a

man

was.

"According to the system employed at Harvard he tested 876 points before going into the woods and 954 on coming out.

232

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
test

"His

hardest test

was 150 points better than the taken by the football men.

"He
"His

surpassed every test he took before
total strength test
is

starting on the trip.

was 974
lifted

points.

A

university crew test

700.

"With

his legs alone

he

more than a

thousand pounds.

"The

strength of his lungs increased five

points on the manometer, while the capacity of
his lungs increased 45 cubic inches

— a remark-

able increase.

"Subjected to the action and the stimulus of the elements, Mr. Knowles' skin has become a perfect skin. It serves him as an overcoat, because it is so healthful that its pores close and shield him from drafts and sudden chills. "His scientific experiment shows what a man can do when he is deprived of the luxuries, which

many

people have come to regard as necessities.
deterioration, only splendid increase of

"No

vigor and vitality,
this experiment.

came

to

him

as a result of

at times,

and

to get

Forced to eat roots and bark whatever he could eat at
is

irregular hours, his digestion

perfect, his health

superb.

"Mr. Knowles has

lost

eleven pounds in

weight; his height has increased one-tenth of an

THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIMENT
his waist-line has decreased
little

233

inch; his chest has gained nearly one-half inch;

weight has

left his

two inches. Some hips and thighs. His

calves have enlarged, due of course to his long

tramps in the woods.

"As
ajQfect

to the lack of salt,

it

didn't seem to

him

in the slightest.

"Sandow was

perfect in strength
is

opment; Knowles
of three

perfect in strength

and develand de-

velopment, but has probably the staying powers

Sandows." The following comparative table, compiled by Doctor Sargent, when compared with the measurements of Sandow, furnishes interesting data:
Knowles
July 30

Knowles
Oct. 9

Weight
Height (standing)
Girth

191 lbs. 69.2 in.
23.6 in.
16. 1 in.

Head

Neck
Chest (normal) Chest (full)

41. i in.

Ninth Ninth Waist Hips

rib (normal) rib (fuU)

44.9 in. 39.4 in. 42.1 in.

37
40.2 23.2 22.4 15.9 15.6 14.4 13.8

in.
in.

Right thigh
Left thigh

in. in.
in.

Right

calf

Left calf

in. in.

Upper Upper

right
left

arm arm

in.

Right forearm Left forearm Strength chest (points) Capacity limg? (points)

11. 8 in.
1 1 .8 in.

70 245 cu.

in.

234

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
to further thoughts regarding the value of

As

the experiment, I think perhaps the opinions of
other eminent
value.
It
is

men on

the subject would be of

better that words of appreciation

should come from them rather than subject myself to telling the kind things they have to

say about me.

Among
of

Salem D. Charles, President the Protective Fish and Game Association
others,

of Massachusetts, has said in public:

have praised the performance of Mr. Knowles too much. There is nothing wonderful about it. Many of us have been there. I have, but I confess I never undertook it in a state of nudity. As a representative of the

"Men

woodsmen

of the state I say again that

there

was nothing wonderful about Knowles' performance, and that he was the man of men to do it. There is no doubt about the battle of the deer in the minds of men who know. Deer
can be killed just as he says. "Knowles' work was well done, and he is entitled to the praise that he is receiving from
thousands.

"There
stills

is

something

in the

woods which
of

in-

strength in the chest, in the arm, in the

intellect.

give no comparison.

Our boasted parks The parks

civilization

afford sunshine

THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIMENT
and
air,

235

but where

is

the breath and the
is

aroma
I

of the forest?

Where

the pine?
of truth.

"His story bears the stamp
heard doubts expressed, but
simple as can be.
I

have
as

know

it is all

Knowles

is

to be

thanked for

bringing the attention of the people back to the

woods." Dr. Samuel W. McComb, the psychologist, was very kind in his expression of appreciation.

He

said:

Knowles be a simple, honest-minded man.
of
lieve

"In making a study

I find
I

him

to

he has said anything that
has shown us,

will

do not benot bear the

closest investigation.

"He
sential.

among
life

other things, that

there are

many

things in

which are not

es-

"He has shown us what a strong personality can do under extreme pressure. That is a great lesson in itself. If he never does another thing in life, this one thing will lift him up a notch higher than he has been before. "It is a most romantic experience, and I am delighted with it all.
"I have just been reading the life of Columbus, and have found that after he had discovered
this great

land of ours there were

many

people

across the sea

who

did not believe he had dis-

236

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
The world is full of skeptics. Howthink we may disregard them all. The
it.

covered
ever, I

statements of Mr. Knowles are so simple and straightforward that they would convince any-

one who thinks.

"The man
youth."

is

an incentive to the growing

William C. Adams, of the Protective Fish and Game Association of Massachusetts, said: "Knowles' experiences have made a wonderHis mental attitude esful impression on me.
pecially impressed me.
forest

A man

can go into the

on the darkest nights and smile at the stars, and rest, and nothing shall hurt him. The friendly attitude of the woods is what Knowles knew."

James B. Connolly, the author, pointed out another interesting thought when he said: "The great lesson this experiment teaches
concerns the physical welfare of the race.
is

There

too

much

striving for refinement.

It leads to

Mr. Knowles has taught us how to live on nothing. It is better than living on too much." From the standpoint of a clergyman who loves
degeneration.

Herbert S. Johnson, pastor of the Warren Avenue Church, Boston,
the outdoors,

the Rev.

gave

his impression as follows:

THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIMENT
In secular
life

237

" Mr. Knowles has lived a wonderful sermon.

must be presented interestingly. Old fogy ways will not do in the woods or in the church, and Mr. Knowles has given a sermon so pointed that the
in churches, all matters

and

whole country will apply the lesson. The Almighty has raised up such men as he to go forth into the wilderness. And behold a sermon two months long for the people of the United States! "Hundreds of thousands of young people,

who have
and strong

read his story and wondered, will

find nature's blessings of health

and pure

air

limbs.

They have been
it

delighted

with his stories of bears and blueberries and
deer and moccasins, and
ing.

has set them thinkas their

"I wish those who worship gold
wilderness and
its

God

could understand the underlying spirit of the
treasures of health,

combined

with economic

living.

"I want

all

to

have good homes and enough
is

to live on, but here

a

man who has lived
gold.

alone,

unassisted in the woods for two months, which
is

more important than
life.

Here

is

a prophet

of the simple

"Knowles has also appealed to men and women. They will go into the woods. It will give them time to stop and think, and the more

238

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

they think the longer the flag will wave. Unless they do stop and think I fear that some time
there will be no
flag.

''Men and women
great sermon that

in the wilderness get the

God always

teaches of the

running brooks and
I

the birds that sing."

have simply mentioned these few ideas about the possible value of the experiment, not to emphasize an indorsement of my test, but to show how students of such things figure out possible benefits from my humble effort. I hope that the various stories which are interwoven into the fabric of my narrative may help, even in a little way, to stimulate the minds of men and women in the direction of nature. I hope my experiment will yield things true and big and broad in the minds of the people, so that

they

may

catch a glimpse of the
life

comparison between the natural
artificial life.

and the

CHAPTER XVI
CONCERNING THE BOY SCOUTS
speak of the Boy Scout movement I do so with enthusiasm. This movement, more than anything else to-day, is leading the people
I

When

back to nature. Of all human beings the boy is the one who should take the burden of this needed education upon his shoulders, because the boy of to-day will be the man of to-morrow. First of all, boys are naturally closer to nature than grown-ups. Then they have that unquenchable enthusiasm, which, after
all, is

the biggest

factor in accomplishing big things.

tendency to-day on the part of parents to take responsibility away from the boy. They are catering to his every wish,
is

There

more or

less

and, as a result, are weakening character rather

than benefiting the child, as they feel they are doing. There is an abundance of the so-called
scientific training,

and too

little of

the practical.

Years ago, in the days of our grandfathers, the boy was very close to nature. He had more
239

240

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
He had
his chores to do,

responsibilities.

and

he had to act more for himself than he does today. To-day all kinds of luxury surround the
average boy.

Even

the sons and daughters of

the very poor have their clubs, and, having

them, enjoy more privileges than the boy of means of years ago. The boy to-day plays mechanically and does not depend
resourcefulness as he used to.

upon

his

own

He

does not have

make his own him instead.
to
I

toys.

They

are bought for

never had a toy bought for
I

me

in

my

life.

Everything
I

had

of this

kind in

my

boyhood

had
I

to

make myself from

materials that cost

nothing.

remember once the
I

delight I took in a

bow

and arrow
sible for

made. It would have been imposhave gone into a shop and with money given me by my father to purchase such a weapon. My father had to use his money in other ways. However, best of all the bow and arrow that I made myself was far stronger and more practical than any I could have bought. And I had the satisfaction of knowing that I

me

to

made
had

it

myself.

There were times when I envied the boys who I often wonfine toys and good clothes. dered if they had them why I could not have

CONCERNING THE BOY SCOUTS

241

them too. I always had the ambition to catch up with those boys, and to have the same things
that they did.
I said to myself,
clothes,

"Some day

I will

have good

and then

I will

be on an equal footing
it

with those boys."

From

that day to this

has been one contell

tinual fight,

and

I

want
I

to

the boys right

here that I believe that
I did not try to catch

am

a bigger

man

be-

cause of this constant struggle.

up with these other boys for the sake of just mixing with them. My ambition was to show them that I was as good as
they were.

In

my

position of poverty the only
at that time
this.

way

to

show them
used to do

I could hold

my
was
If I

was to fight them, and I was a fighter with my hands. own with any boy in this way.
I
all

My

idea

wrong.

I

believed that a

man was

not a

man

unless he could fight with

his hands.

fought with a boy and he con-

I would meet him again. All this was before I used my brains. Then I met men who fought with their brains. Boys, you all have brains. There is no need of

quered me,

fighting with

your hands.

It

is

a

silly

thing to
settled

fight with fists

when a matter can be

with your mental equipment.

242

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
settled differences with cool words.
I believed in
is

I listened with great interest to these

who

men They

appealed to me.
I said to

them.
another kind of

myself, ''This

fight,

and it is bigger and broader. These men seemed to like me, and we drifted along together. I watched them and saw how they lived and how they looked. Then I would notice that people admired them. I would say again to myself, "What can I do
to

become a man
I

knew

these
I

like these men?" men had been educated
n't.

in the

schools.

had

They were

refined,

and

could speak different languages, and I looked

up

to them.

Boys, such a thing

is

one of the

best things I
lar big

know of. If there is some particuman, who is loved by the people, and who appeals to you as being a big, worth-while kind of man, make him your ideal and work and fight to become a man like him. Don't for a moment think that you cannot do this. Your success depends on your grit and determination. When you are discouraged,
fight the harder.

a thing

is

bound

what we really by necessity. These men meant more

always keeps at win out. None of us realize can do until we are called upon
to to

A man who

me than money

CONCERNING THE BOY SCOUTS
ever could.

243

They possessed something that money can never buy big qualities. I have seen much of life in the forest and on the sea. I know one thing above all else, and

that

is

that a

man must
be

be

fair to get

any-

where.

He must

true to his friends

and true

to himself.

The golden rule, ''Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is the best
be beat. If every one lived up to it we would have a perfect world, such as the Almighty wants us
It can't

thing in the world to follow.

to have.

The Boy Scout oath
of the
Its

is

the

embodiment
is

Golden Rule.
laws
are perfect.

"A

scout

trust-

worthy," reads the first law. A man, in order to succeed, must above all else be trustworthy. Law No. 2 says, "A scout is loyal." Loyalty is one of the greatest words in the English language, because it goes with friendship. A true friend is one of man's greatest possessions.

Regarding the third law of the Boy Scouts,
''A scout
is

helpful," I

want

to say that I be-

lieve this to

be a most important law.
is

Helpfor

ing another

the truest sign of friendship.
believe
this

However,

I

doing

things

244

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
may

be overdone. Perhaps I am treading on dangerous ground, but I do it honestly. I believe in aiding others only when they acIf a person is ill he needs tually need help.
others
assistance.
If

a

man
them

or

woman

is

infirm, of-

fering to assist
in other ways,
If
is

in crossing a street, or

the right thing to do.

a boy can relieve his parents of responBut sibility it is again a noble thing to do.
the world
is full

They what

live like

what I call *' hangers-on." the bank beaver in the woods on
of

They have so much done for them that they do not know how to do things for themselves, and they become
others do for them.
I believe

valueless.

every boy and

girl

should

want

to do everything that they can for

them-

selves.

By

not leaning on the other fellow they

Depending become masters of themselves. upon their own resources they can accomplish
wonderful things.

do not want the reader to misunderstand me. I believe in helping others, but only where
I
it is

absolutely necessary.
I

Perhaps

can well

illustrate this point
is

by

relating a story,

which

told

by one

of the big-

gest Salvation

Army

workers in

New

England.
city

and kindest men of the One met him on the street one day and said:
of the biggest

CONCERNING THE BOY SCOUTS
" Captain, every day I
street

245

am

approached on the

by unfortunate men who ask me to help them. Sometimes I wonder when I give them something if they are deserving, I am blessed with money and I want to help these
men,
if

they deserve to be helped, but I
if,

am

constantly wondering

at times, I

am

not en-

couraging begging and indolence."

you," answered the Captain. "If I were you I would change my method. When a man approaches you on the street and asks for something to eat and a night 's lodging, give him one of your cards with the address of
"Well,
I'll tell

the Salvation

Army

People's Palace written

on the back. Tell him it is good for food and a bed at our home. If that man comes to us I will charge his expenses for the night up to you." The wealthy man thought this was a fine idea, and during the next two months gave away twenty-five of his cards to men who approached him for aid on the street. In all this time he did not receive the slightest word from the Salvation Army authorities. One day he called up the Captain on the
telephone.

"I must owe you quite a bill," he said. "Why, no," answered the Captain. "You

246

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
just twenty-five cents.

owe us

One man with

your card has come to us since I met you." The rich man was amazed. It showed him that out of the twenty-five cards he had given away only one had been a truly worthy case. All the others had wanted money instead of food and a bed. However, a boy instinctively knows when he should help another, and when his instinct tells

him boy

to,

also

he should never fail in his duty. The knows that courtesy is a great factor

in the world,

and that he should be
of others.

polite

and

always considerate

When
talk to.

I

was alone
I

in the wilderness I

had no

one to aid me.
If I

did not even have anyone to

get

it

for

wanted anything I had to go and myself. I had to use my own re-

sources, and, as a result, I

am better

for

it.

Boys
cities,

in

our modern

life,

especially in big

do not have the opportunities of getting

back to nature as boys did years ago. However, through this great movement of theirs they come together and talk of outdoor life, and at every opportunity they go into the woods and learn the great lesson of Big men, who know, have written nature. books on the woods and the animals that live
within these woods.

The Boy Scout

is

obliged

CONCERNING THE BOY SCOUTS
to

247

learn

these

various

animals

and things
first-class

about nature in order to qualify as a
scout.
I

am

particularly interested in the different
in

There are three movement. degrees which the boy must take before he becomes a first-class scout. This part of it is a splendid feature, inasmuch as the boy just
stages

the

starting in to be a scout constantly has the in-

centive of becoming a bigger

and better one.

I even advocate more degrees, so that a scout can always look forward to something bigger. The Boy Scouts of America first become

what they call tenderfoots. Here they make a start, and a start is a big thing. A boy must serve at least a month to be eligible

to enter the ranks of the second-class

scouts,

and

all

the while he
of
life

must learn necessary,
order to
qualify.

practical

things

in

He must know how
jured,

to aid those

who

are in-

open,

how how

to cook,

how

to build fires in the

to use a knife

and a hatchet, and

other practical things that thousands of boys

do not know to-day. Such knowledge makes the boy independent. It gives him an education that will stand back of him in after life it brings him closer to mother nature, whom, in the onward march

248

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
of
civilization,

along the roads

he has run

away from. It gives him health, and health means stronger generations to come. In order to become a first-class scout the boymust know how to swim; to earn a certain sum of money and deposit it in a bank; to make
maps; to understand the growing things woods, and how to live in the open.
in the

can be greater along educational lines? Where does book-learning compare
with this practical experience in the great outdoors?

What movement

Of course, have the book-learning too, but divide this learning with the learning from the open book of nature. I understand that there are over two million Boy Scouts in the world to-day. I believe it to be the duty of every parent to encourage his boys in this work, and I certainly approve of any such movement for the
girls

along this

line.

I

realize only too well that the
will

average

Boy

Scout

not go into the depths of the woods

However, I feel that the average American boy of reasonably good health, and
as I did.

with a reasonable amount of resourcefulness, could accomplish things in the forest that

he and his parents would never dream

of.

CONCERNING THE BOY SCOUTS
The Boy Scout
will

249

go into the forest where
is

man

has been, and where there
to

ample op-

portunity

get

close

to

nature.

He

will

learn the different growing things,
of the animals that frequent his
will learn
all

and the habits
domain.

He

how

to utilize the different materials

about him.
will

He

come
him.

to love the woods,

and

all

fear

will leave

He

will get to feel as safe

and

comfortable in the forest at night as in his

own

home. In the summertime the boy in the woods knows he cannot freeze. If he is lost, all he has to do is to keep his head. The best place
to choose a

camp
If

if

night overtakes

a thicket.
to get

he

feels cold,

him is in he knows enough

up and run around. The boy in going into the woods should know in what direction he is going. With this constantly in his mind, he can get his bearings by the moss on the north side of the trees.
It is useless for

me

to tell the

to build a

fire,

without any matches.

Boy .Scouts how They

know

already.

To

the boy just beginning, the

chapter on woodcraft,

Seton in the Boy Scouts'
all

by Ernest Thompson Handbook, will explain

that very quickly.

In the winter when the snows are deep, and

250

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
is

he

walking on snowshoes and night overit is

takes him,

a simple thing for
for the night.

him

to con-

struct a cosey
it

camp

hundreds

of times

I have done and have been perfectly

comfortable.

He
in the

takes off his snowshoes, shovels a hole

boughs.

snow with them, and fills this hole with He sticks up a couple of sticks in front, places a cross-stick across those, and slants boughs covered with bark from the cross-stick to the snow in the rear. After gathering wood enough to last all
night, he starts his fire in front of the lean-to,

can regulate his comfort under these conditions, no matter if the temperature is below zero. There are no animals in the woods in winter that will molest him in any way. The bear is in
to the lee side. to
suit

He

himself,

his den.

The moose

are in their yards on the

tops of the mountains, and they never leave these

yards until the snow
in yards

is

gone.

The deer

are also

on the mountains and in the swamps. that travel on the light snow are the rabbit, fox, wild-cat, mink, fisher, and the soft-footed animals. Even if there were vicious animals in the woods, none would approach close to a camp so long as a fire was burning.

The only animals

CONCERNING THE BOY SCOUTS
If

251

a boy has n't any food he knows he won't

starve overnight.

In the preceding chapters

he can find much material on foods and to get them.

how

The more experience a boy has

in the

woods
finds
is all.

the more his instinct will be developed.

No
water.

guide can describe to you

how he
it,

He

simply goes and finds
instinctively

that

He knows
trails

where to go by the
in the

A

and the lay of the land. boy who lives a great deal
I

see the folly of smoking.

am

open will not a prude

about such things, but I do want to say that nine out of every ten who smoke acquired the habit because, when they were young, they thought smoking looked well and made them men. Smoking does not make a man. Rather There is it shows a weakness for luxury.
nothing in smoking, and in
harmful.

many

cases

it

is

A man

does not need tobacco, and
so,

he can be just as contented, and even more without it than he can with it.

There

is

n't a

man

I

know who smokes who,
wish that he

way down

in his heart, does not

had never started the habit. I don't even have to mention liquor to a Boy Scout, for he well knows its evils. God 's fresh air is the greatest stimulant in the world, and

252

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
is

the use of artificial stimulants

an abuse

of the

body.

pay a tribute to the newsboys of the country. Those little men are an inspiration to me. At their very young age they are laboring upon their own resources, and in the future we are to see some great men come from among their ranks. These boys, with the responsibilities of life upon their shoulders, learn to grasp every opportunity; and the fraternity among them is a wonderful thing to see. Some of them aid
While
I

am

writing to boys I

want

to

materially in the support of the family.

They

work long and late. With all this work they are always on the alert to improve themselves. The various newsboy clubs throughout the
country have accomplished remarkable things, and valuable men are being made from their

memberships.
Boys, there
ask yourself:
I
is

one question you should always
I

''Am

making the most

of

what
of

have?"
It
is

impossible to describe the feeling

satisfaction that takes possession of one

he knows that he has done his very best. boy who tries to do as little in life as he can believes he is doing a smart thing, and is having

when The

an easy time.

He

is

having a hard time instead.

CONCERNING THE BOY SCOUTS
He
does not

253

piness
alive.
If

— the feehng that makes one glad to be
girl

know

the exhilaration of true hap-

every boy and

could but understand

this,

A

how much more they would get out of life. boy should never try to reason with his

conscience, because his conscience in the long

run is right. Instinctively he knows what his duty is, and every time he meets that duty he is making himself a bigger man a man whom the world will look up to and respect. Boys and girls, the responsibility of the future lies upon your shoulders. Study nature at every opportunity, for the more you know of nature the more you will know of true living. The very boys and girls who live to-day can make history they can be the ones who, when artificial things have taken possession of the world, can turn civilization back to the true life. This means a future life of health and happiness a glorious heritage, which will be handed down from them.

CHAPTER XVII
NATURE AND ART
came upon me in the forest that my battle was not to be physical but one with my mind I began to try to create something to combat it. I knew that in order to win this battle I must constantly apply my mind to labor, and that in steady
the realization
first

When

labor I would not have time to dwell mentally

on my loneliness. Having been an artist in the civilized life it was most natural that my mind should turn in that direction. I wished that I might have had my tubes, brushes, and canvas, for in that way I could have occupied my mind for hours. But I said to myself, "What is the use of wishing for these things when I have not got them?" Suddenly it occurred to me that color came from nature, and the brushes and canvas came from the same source. Then the thought came to my mind, ''Why not try to get my artist materials in the forest? Why was it not
254

NATURE AND ART
possible for art to be foraged just the

255

same

as

existence?"

To

begin with, I had everything necessary
I

right there in the woods.

knew
also
fur.

that paper

wood pulp. I brushes were made of animal
was made
of

knew that Then again
and began
picture
in

there was a chance for color everywhere.
I

grew enthusiastic over
to

this idea

making preparations
color, using the

make a

crude materials there at hand

I set to work testing the and colors of roots, bark, and berries, and proved conclusively that I should not lack

in the wilderness. stains

for varied color.

Then
making.

I

started experimenting with paper-

By grinding pieces of soft wood against

a stone under water in a birch-bark dish a pulp was produced, of which I made small Draining the water from the pulp I sheets.
spread
it

evenly on a piece of smooth birch-

bark and rolled all the water out of it with a round stick. I then placed it in the sun to dry and, as the moisture was absorbed, the crude sheet of paper released itself from the
bark.

While I lacked the pressure of heavy rolls to harden this paper, I was able to make tests on its surface with colors. The pure juice of

^5Q
berries

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
is
it

deep and sticky.

By

filling this

with

becomes transparent and pleasing more subdued tones of the bark and roots. Next I made some good brushes out of the short, stiff hair that grows around the nose of
water
in color, blending perfectly with the

the bear.
find I

After selecting the best hair I could
it

tied
it

together with longer hair, and
quill

pulled
feather.
quill

through the

of
I

a blue heron

To

secure

the

hair

plugged the
attached
a

with hot spruce

gum and
I felt

small stick for a handle.

confident that

these brushes would do the trick.

So thoroughly carried away was I with the experiment I was making in art that I neglected everything else. I even forgot to eat. Eventually I was forced through necessity to fight for mere existence, and the project had to be abandoned. However, I know that I could have painted a fair picture in color under
those circumstances.

Even

after that the longing

came

to

me

to

paint something.

The natural

colorings that

surrounded
golden
light

me were mighty
softly

tempting.

As the
the
twi-

sunset
there

blended with

was always an inspiration and
those things around

tranquillity.

With

all

him

in

the

NATURE AND ART
forest all a

257

man actually needed was
to-day

the instinct
accepted,

of

an
In

artist.

many instances

art, as it is

is

the merest veneer of the true thing.

Art
is

begins

with nature, because
of

it

is

with the

products

nature

that

art

production
artists

made

possible.

There are some

paint pictures of passing interest

who who do not
can

even know of what their canvas is made. With perhaps the slight exception of what they have read in books, they have little idea of the history and process of color-making. These artists never made their own colors, or All these have had to canvas, or brushes. be made for them by somebody else. They accept what color is offered them in stores, where They go to they also buy their brushes. teachers of art, who have learned what they know through other teachers of art. In a word, they paint by rule they paint the way they were taught to paint. The artist goes back to nature and sees a moose running in the woods. He knows it is a moose because the guide tells him it is. He knows the difference between animals also because the guide tells him. Perhaps he shoots one with a modern high-power rifle. He doesn't skin the animal because he doesn't

258

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
so

know how,

he stands back and watches the guide remove the skin from the carcass. He tastes some of the meat. He watches the

guide flesh and tan the hide.

Then he

pro-

ceeds to paint a picture of the scene.

The

guide carries his pack for him and makes up
his

bed

in a comfortable

camp, as well as cook-

ing

all his

meals.

Perhaps he stays in the woods for a month living under the most comfortable circumstances. He has observed many things with his eyes, but in all that time he has not felt the things that the guide has felt, nor does
or more,

the guide

tell

the artist his feelings, not being

in the habit of talking

much.

Then

the artist goes back to the city to his

luxurious studio and starts to
picture of outdoor

work putting a work on canvas. He pleases

people

who do not know much about outdoor life much the same as a gay-colored chromo attracts the eye of a child. And he paints all
these
pictures

under

the

most comfortable
says,

circumstances.

Along comes a wealthy

man who
life.

are a great painter of wild

Paint

"You me a
artist

picture of a moose in summertime. "

The
a

has

already

painted

a

picture

of

moose
color

in the fall

and winter

in the snow.

The

NATURE AND ART
of a winter

259

moose

is

decidedly different from

that of the
artist

summer moose.

The

antlers the

has seen are hard and perfect, but the

antlers of the

summer moose
is

vety, because the blood

and velcirculating from the
are soft

body

of the

his horns.

animal up through every part of Summer moose look no more like

winter moose than a caribou looks like a deer.

What is the artist going to do? He does n't even know what kind of a country the summer moose inhabits, or where he is found. The summer moose does not live in the same kind of a place as the winter moose. He does not eat the same food, nor eat in the same way.

He
easy

is

of

different

color, different

shape, and

he acts differently.
it is

So the reader will see how for the painter of outdoor life to slip

up on this sort of thing. The true portrayal can never come from the
brush of an
nature, and
artist

who has not

lived close to

who has not felt what he paints. To my mind, this fundamental training is a
something big something apart from the constant swapping of ideas from one teacher to another. While such an artist may not have the techIt
is

big factor in art.

nical

training of the schooled artist, he has
is

the truth of his work; and no painting

ever

260

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
if it

great

lacks truth.

Being a part of nature

will fit a man to portray nature truthfully when he comes to paint it. It does n 't matter what the picture is on the surface, nor does it make any difference what

you paint
or color.

it

on, or
is

what you use

for a brush,

It

the touch.

A man who

views
it.

a picture rightly looks below the surface of

He
of

goes

down deep

into

it.

The

painter of truth-pictures
or

is

unconscious

The only

what color he employs. mind is the touch of life that he has seen on the head of some wood
thing in his

what brush he uses

creature or the reflection of a sunset.
are the things that appeal to

They

him

as striking,

and he works on and on
the effect
that
is

until he has obtained

in

his

mind.

He knows
it,

instinctively

when he has found
is

and he

knows that he
life

right.

He

has given a soul

to the painting.

It takes a

man who knows

in another

from practical experience to read the soul man's picture. A picture without

a soul means nothing.

This was one of the reasons
the

woods

in

the

first

place —

why

I I

went into hoped in

a small

way
art.

to get the people to recognize

nature in
I

began

my

art in the

woods

of northern

TIIF,

AUTHOR GREETING HIS MUTIIER AT WILTON, MAINE, AFTER HAD COMPLETED HIS EXPERIMENT

111',

NATURE AND ART
Maine.

261

At various
for

times, while I

was guiding

men from
They kept
talent,
I

the city through the woods, I would

draw sketches

them on

pieces of fungus.

telling

me

I

should develop such a

and this pleased me. drew considerably after that, but always hid my stuff. Sometimes people would find it and say it was good, and that with a little training I would one day be an artist. I knew
that I lacked technical training, so I thrust
self

my-

upon every

artist I

came

in contact with.

I

observed them closely, and nothing escaped

me. I wondered then if I would ever be able to do anything like the work they were doing. However, the repeated suggestions of people about my developing my talent encouraged

me some and
zine

I stuck to it. One day a magawanted to buy a cover design I had drawn. That was the biggest thing I had reached.

I said to myself, ''Here is a

chance for

me

to

draw a picture
signed to it!"

for the public, with
It

my name

meant a great deal to me. But inside I felt that I was not on equal footing with other artists because I hadn't had the training of the schools. I did n't dream at that time that a man could start out with what talent he had and make a success on his own resources. I didn't have the

262

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
to study, so the only thing for

money

me

to

do was to keep on painting and observing other men's work until I might one day be recognized
as a painter of outdoor
life.

After I received this recognition I immediately

jumped back

to nature in order to convince

that class of doubters,

who

are forever tearing

down when they might be building up, about
truth of outdoor painting.
I

the
to
I

went back
I

nature again and lived.
felt

When

came out

that I

knew

nature.
criti-

How many
cism,

times have you heard the
is

''That painting

overcolored"?

It is

impossible to use colors too bright to portray
the truth of nature.

The

colors are a part of

nature

itself

and belong

there.

They can be

toned down with gray, just the same as a bright day can be toned down with clouds.

At

certain times of the year the reflections

and the sunset on the lakes are brighter and cleaner in color than any I have ever seen on canvas. The peace and tranquillity of some of the twilights and afterglows I have never seen perfectly reproduced in oil
of the forest

or water color.

Art

critics

have a tendency to judge pictures
personal experience of other
believe they think too

from

their
I

own

pictures.

much

of

NATURE AND ART
the technical and
soul
artificial,

263
in

and ofttimes

their desire to criticize they overlook the
of

hidden

the

picture,

which by a

man who

knows will be noticed first of all. The drawing of the subject is a strong point and requires great skill and natural ability. The color is a great addition. But the greatest
thing of
all is
it.

the soul

— the touch of the man
in the

who

paints

The use
in

of the

camera
I

woods

is

one

interesting phase of art.

have used the camera

many ways

to get negatives of animals in

In a preceding chapter have spoken of the jacklight method, but I have not mentioned how, at various times during my career in the woods, I have made
their native haunts.
I

animals take pictures of themselves.

In these instances

I set

my

camera on a
to

trail

and

laid a

string,

attached

the

shutter,

across the

trail.

The camera had been focused

on the spot where the oncoming deer or other The animal would walk against the string. creature wandering along presses the string, releasing the shutter, and you have your negative. It does n't matter what kind of an animal comes along. If it happens to be a man you will have his picture just the same. In order to get negatives of the smaller

264

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
is

animals a different method

used.

Bait

is

employed. The camera is set at night, and a string is extended from the machine to a tree.

The

string dangles bait just

above the ground,

so that

when

the coon or other small animal

comes to get
is

it it

has to

rise

up and

pull hard.

This pull releases a flashlight and the negative

made.
This same simple method
is

used in making
a,

animals shoot themselves with
string
is

gun.

attached to the hair-trigger, and

The when

the fox or other animal

moves the

string the

gun

is

discharged.

I remember one winter when I was at King and Bartlett Camps that I set one of these guns out on King and Bartlett Lake. The men in the camp laughed at me and said I might be able to trap foxes in all kinds of ways but that it was impossible to make a fox shoot himEven while we were talking the sound of self. a gun came to us from the direction of the Investigation proved that I had been lake. correct, because the dead fox on the ice and the discharged gun told their own story. A first-class taxidermist is in truth an artist. I have done much of this work, having mounted heads and full bodies of animals, together with hundreds of fish.

NATURE AND ART
Here again
is

265

another thing a

man

can do in

the woods without aid or material from the

Assuming that I was naked and without tools, as I was during my two months in the wilderness, and desired to do some of this work, I would first catch a fish in the manner I have previously described. Using the same process that I did with the bear and the deer, I would remove the skin with sharp rocks. Next I would find a large splinter broken-down tree, wide enough for a from a
outside world.

panel background.

In order to catch

all

the-

high lights and
I

make

the fish appear natural

by placing

would shape the splintered wood to an oval, it under water and grinding it down with a rock. A man can take any piece of wood and under water grind it to any shape he wants. When this oval background was ready I would stick the skin on with the natural glue of the In spite of the fact that I had used no fish. instruments from the outside world the observer could not tell the difference between the mounted specimen and a trout fresh from the water at a distance of ten feet. In emphasizing my point about the artist who lacks the practical, rough side of forest
life

not being able to give the true touch to

his pictures, I

want

to tell a short story about

266

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
man
I ever

the best-natured

met.

Unlike the

gentlemen of art who come into the woods to observe under the most luxurious conditions, he was satisfied with anything that happened to be on hand. While he had plenty of money and paid me well for guiding him, he never complained. If he had but little to eat he would
say the food was good.
complained.
If it

rained he never

One day after one of the hardest tramps I had ever taken we arrived at one of my camps which I had not seen for over a year. It was long after dark and we had no time to gather fir boughs for a bed. Inside the camp were two
bunks, one above the other.
in them, nothing

No boughs were but the rough hard boards.
I said,

''Well,

Frank,"

"which bunk do you

want?"

"Any
manner.

one," he answered in his customary

"You better take the lower one," I said, "because if you happen to fall out you won't have so far to fall." "All right," he said, and we turned in, he
taking the lower berth and I climbing up to the

one above. The beds were as hard as rocks. Some time later I was awakened by a noise. I looked out over my bunk and saw Frank sit-

NATURE AND ART
ting

267

on the side

of the

one below with his head

in his hands.

"What's
asked him.

the matter, can't you sleep?" I

Without moving he replied, "Oh, yes. I have been asleep, but I just thought I would sit up awhile and rest. After I get rested I will go back to bed." If that man had possessed the artistic sense he could have painted a true picture of outdoor life. He took everything in the woods as it was, and in this way learned to feel the spirit
of nature.

Sleeping on planks, skinning one's
getting one's
just as

own game,

own meals
life

in the forest are all

much

a part of the training of an artist
as

painting
teachers.

out-of-door

are

books

and

Without

this

rough experience the

fireside artist

has a tendency to paint his pic-

somewhat on the order of this story: One night in camp some years ago Andrew Douglas and I were discussing good shots and
tures

lucky days at hunting.

I said to

Andrew:

"Andrew, what you ever pulled off?"
is

the luckiest hunting stunt

"Well," he began, without a smile on his face, "it was back in the old days of the muzzleloading gun. One day I started out hunting

"

268

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
I

went down the bank of a stream and up a flock, which rose from I the water and lit on the limb of a tree. tried to get into position to make a clean sweep So of them all, but I could n't seem to do it. I went under the tree, and taking aim fired at the center of the limb on which the ducks sat.
ducks.
after awhile scared

"Of
split

course,

as the bullet sped through

it
fly-

the limb, but before the ducks could the split

away

came together again, catching While they everyone of them by the toes. were fluttering and trying to get away I loaded up again and took aim at the butt of the
limb close to the
tree.

This shot cut the limb

off,

and as it fell it dropped into the stream. "I rushed into the water after it, and finally caught it, with every duck still attached.
I

sogged out of the water with about a score of
the seat of

fish in

my

pants, which

had swum

up the legs of my trowsers. "I remember, just as I made an extra high
step to get a firm footing, one of

my suspenderme

buttons snapped
like

off,

buzzing away from

a bullet. A rabbit coming down the stream to drink got the button right in the eye

and it killed him. "That was my
hunting.

luckiest

day

in the

way

of

CHAPTER

XVIII

THE INSIDE STORY OF THE CANADIAN TRIP
Just

why

did I go to

ing from the forest

Canada instead of emergon American soil? This

question has interested hundreds since

my

re-

turn to civilization, but until now I have never gone into details of the whole story. It is not my desire to attack anyone or to

show
about
I

bitterness,

and

in telling the plain facts

this trip I shall

simply reveal true condilittle

tions as they were.

want

to go

back a

into the history of

the affair to the time just before I entered the

woods.

At that

time, while I

was

in Boston,

I applied

through friends to the Fish and
of the State of
kill

Game

Maine for a permit might need in carrying out my experiment. These friends explained that I would pay all fines for the killing of such animals when I came from the forest. For a time the commissioners ignored the application, and, when they did reply, it was to
Commission
to catch or

what game

I

269

270

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
it

state that

would be impossible

to grant

my

request.

In the meantime I had discovered that Section 17 of the Maine Fish and Game Laws

made

it

possible

for

such

a

permit

to

be

granted

— namely,

that the commissioners had
fish to

a right to allow

game and

be obtained

for scientific purposes at

any time.

On

the strength of this, I applied again to

the commissioners, about ten days later, laying stress on that section of the law and also

mentioning the fact that noted
dorsing
the experiment.

men were
until
forest,

in-

Not
the

fourth, the

day

I

entered
I did

August was a

decision reached.

not see the letter an-

nouncing it until I arrived at Megantic after my experiment was over.

"Your request for permission to kill animals and birds in Maine in close season," reads this letter, "was considered by this commission at
a meeting today.

"While we appreciate the inconvenience that you may be put to, nevertheless, in view of the fact that your experiences will undoubtedly be published, if the desired permit was granted, it would certainly put our Board in the position of indorsing violations of our Inland Fish and Game Laws, which we cannot see our way clear to do."

INSIDE STORY OF CANADIAN TRIP

271

No name was

signed to that letter, only the

word ''Chairman" appearing where the name
of the writer customarily appears.

However, with the knowledge that I had been refused once, as explained on the previous page, I went into the woods and tried to live within the game laws. This made my task doubly hard. Everybody but the commissioners of my own state were with me. The manner in which they had acted before I entered the forest naturally

made me

feel

that
after

they would not hesitate to disturb
I

me

had broken the law. I could n't be disturbed, as that would have spoiled everything. Among others who met me after I reached Canada were four State of Maine game wardens, and they were all fine men. They assured me that I would have a free passport
through the state. They got in touch with the commissioners at Augusta, who, through them, invited me to the Natural History Hall
in

the capitol where a reception was

to

be

held in

my

honor.

The people of Augusta accorded me a tremendous reception one that I shall never forget and when our party arrived at the

State House hundreds of people had gathered
for the affair.

"

272

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
on the Fish and
of

First of all I called

Game

Commission

in

the

office

the

chairman.

when a coldThe chairman blooded transaction followed. summoned one of his clerks who read off the various fines attached to the killing of game out of season. Then I was asked what I had killed.
Scarcely had the doors
closed
I

gave

this information,

and the chairman took
that
I

down Then

the

various

things

mentioned.

turning to

me

he

said,

"It will cost you

two hundred and

Mr. Knowles. Members of my party stepped up and assured the commissioners that the fines would be
five dollars,

attended to just as soon as the party arrived
in Boston,

and I was escorted into the Natural History Hall where the people were waiting to receive me. As I was moving on schedule the time was very limited, and presently I left the
automobile in order to keep an appointment with the mayor and make train
hall in the waiting

connections for Portland.

through a lane of people through the street one of the commissioners dashed
I started

As

down

the steps and announced that the chair-

man had
"But

decided that I must give bonds before

I left the State House.

that matter will be attended to just as

soon as we arrive in Boston," protested the

INSIDE STORY OF CANADIAN TRIP

273

man who was

engineering the party.

"We

are

on schedule, and every minute is precious." In spite of this the commissioners insisted, so I went back to the office where the Attorney-general was waiting with the chairman. "But they are on schedule, Mr. Commissioner,

and they haven't got time," said the

Attorney-general.

"We'll make time," declared the chairman
with every ounce of authority that his
allows.
office

However, to make a long story short, a spirited conference followed, and I was allowed to depart to catch my train after I had affixed my signature to the document that gave me free passport through Maine. This also contained a clause to the effect that I would pay all fines for what game I had killed. Afterwards two of the commissioners, for whom I have the highest regard, came to me and said they were sorry that such a thing had happened. They told me they had been
in favor of granting

me a permit in the first place

but that they had had to give in to the chairman of the Board. Such, through the admission of the majority
of the
is

Board

of Fish

the condition of

and Game Commissioners, the State of Maine to-day.

274

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
of the

The majority
minority.
I suffered

Board

is

controlled

by the

more mentally during my last ten days in the forest than at any other time. This suffering was not due to the fact that I wanted to go out before my time was up, but rather because of a fear that I might be molested by game wardens before I had livedo my two full months in the forest. After I had killed my bear I wondered at various times just how the game wardens and the fish and game commissioners would act. However, after I had got my deer the thought was harder to get rid of than it had been before. I was not conscience-stricken or anything like that. I had only killed game through sheer necessity. The one paramount thought in my mind after getting my deer was that the game wardens would come into the woods and take me out. Being alone, and having no one
to talk the matter over with, I turned this thing

over and over in
of things.

my mind.
if

I

imagined

all

kinds

I felt as

I were being hunted.

The

thought got hold
lect myself.
I

of

me

so that I began to neg-

camped anywhere and every-

where.

I said to myself,

"What

is

the use of

building a

home only to have the game wardens " come along and find me as soon as it is finished?

INSIDE STORY OF CANADIAN TRIP

275

During those ten days I lived in a state so that I could move any minute. I wandered from place to place, always watching for men who might be after me. And I saw some men during those days, but they did not see me. In all I saw four or five. Every strange sound I heard startled me. I would think, "There they are again," and I would go back to my lean-to to see if they had been there. The idea that I was hunted brought out all the animal in me. I acted just as a deer would
act.

At night

I

slept in such a

way

that I

could not be surprised from the rear.

In a

word, just as the deer does,

I faced

my

back

tracks. If anyone had approached me I would have seen him before he could have

seen me.

One afternoon a party

of three

men

passed

within ten feet of where I was hiding. They were talking about me. Can the reader imagine how I would have felt, after having lived two months in the woods as I have lived, to have come forth from the forest to meet my friends and have half a dozen game wardens step up and place me under arrest, and take my skins away from me?
I said to myself,

"I
if

will

beat these wardens at

their

own game,

possible."

276

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

In the wilderness I had no one to ask advice of. had to settle everything for myself. So I began to reason that if I went to Canada the wardens would not molest me in any way. I felt revengeful. I did n't care what the CanaI

dian

officials

did to

me
I

as long as I escaped the

Maine

authorities.

would have undergone

anything rather than be taken by game wardens in the woods.
After

my

decision to go to Canada, I

must notify

my

friends of

knew I my intention. The
was a
little
it

night I started for

Canada

I

dubious
be.

as to the exact date of the

month

might

A

week before I had lost my calendar stick and was carrying the days in my head. I knew I wasn't ahead of time, but was not sure about being one day late. Placing on a stump a roll of birch bark on which I had written that I would meet my friends on the shore of Lake Megantic, Canada, on October fourth, I went back into
the woods.
I then

Following a

trail

to the left to

a point about a mile and a half from the
the

camp

swung in, walking straight in through camp yard. There was a light in one of the
and as
I

cabins,

passed I could hear the boys

playing cards.

Over at one
trails

side I

saw two

men

going up one of the

with a lantern,

GAME WARDENS ESCORTING THE AUTHOR TO ATTEAN CAMPS AFTER HIS RETURN TO CIVILIZATION. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, MR. PENDELTON, MR. COMBER, MR. DURGIN, MR. WILCOX.

INSIDE STORY OF CANADIAN TRIP

277

but they did not see me. I continued on my way down to the Spencer Stream, which I forded, and then went on a few miles until I had
crossed the

Kibby Stream.

Then
where
fire

I

I

headed up Spotted Spruce Mountain, spent the night. I didn't have any
I

or lean-to.

simply curled up in

my

bear-

skin at the foot of a tree
could.
It

and

slept as best I

had begun

to rain hard.
I

My
I

mind

was

filled

with wardens, and
first

didn't stop
I

for anything to eat that night.

remember
thought

that I dreamed for the

time.

that I was talking to someone and in
I

my dream
all

would say to myself, "I have gone and

talked with someone, and

now

it

is

off."

I would wake up and be mighty glad it was not true. I I was on my way early in the morning. never saw it rain harder. I kept away from the logging roads and the worn trails, fearing that such places would be watched. I followed the

Then

natural
sistance.

game
I

trails

along the lines of least re-

farther in this way.
course, but

probably went twenty-five miles I didn't take a direct
to the east or north, always

swung

keeping

my

destination in mind.
of the trees

The moss

on the north side where north was.

always told

me

278

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
I drifted

From Spotted Spruce

along

down

on to the slope of Old Snow Mountain, over Hurricane Mountain, and farther on to Douglas Mountain, where half a mile beyond I came to Douglas Pond. Boundary Mountain was straight ahead, and I made for it. It was not until I had crossed the line that I drew my first free breath. They could n't touch me now! The rain had n't abated in the slightest, and again I tried to sleep with my back against a tree. It was impossible to go on, as I could not see my hand before my face. I had eaten once that day early in the morning when I had shot a partridge with my bow and arrow. Not being able to get a fire in the wet, I had

eaten

it

raw.

I ate

nothing that night.

The next day was the fourth of October. was not sure of this, believing it might be Sunday, the fifth. I covered several miles that morning, and when noon time came it stopped raining, which was a great relief. I still had some distance to travel, and after going on for two or three hours I heard the distant whistle of a train away off somewhere
I

ahead.
before

I followed the direction of the

sound,
I

and about four o'clock that afternoon

saw

me

through the trees the tracks of the
Pacific Railroad.

Canadian

INSIDE STORY OF CANADIAN TRIP

279

A

tram
I

car,

with three
I

men

aboard, rolled up

the track.

As

came out

into the open

and saw

them

rushed back in among the trees so that

they wouldn't see me. Then I laughed to myself when I thought what I had done I had simply jumped back out of habit. My

time was up in the forest and I did not need to
fear
in the woods I had donned my skins, not knowing exactly whom I might meet. When the tram had passed I came out of the woods and made my way to the railroad tracks. There was no one in sight now. I started along up the track, wondering how the people would

human beings any Some distance back

more.

receive me.

little

Suddenly ahead of me up the track I saw a girl of about fourteen years old. She caught sight of me and stopped stock still. In spite of what she saw she held her ground and watched me approach. I wouldn't have blamed her if she had run back just then, because I must have been an unusual picture in

my

skins.

Coming
Megantic.
I

closer I

asked her

how

far it

was to

A

torrent of French greeted me.
of the

knew a

little

language and put the

question again.

She told

me Megantic was

280

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

about seven miles farther along. I tell you the sound of her voice sounded good to me. She was the first human being I had spoken to in two months. Rather than continue on her way, she turned about and walked down the tracks with me toward
Megantic.
Presently

we came

to a house situated

some

distance back from the railroad.

A woman with

about fifteen youngsters came running out to meet the little girl, who had called to them. When the youngsters saw me they let out a
yell

and scattered like so many partridges. However, before I went on my way they got so they approached me timidly, and one or two of them even reached out and touched

me

with their

little

hands.

was the little French girl's name, told me the train bound for Megantic was very nearly due, and I knew if I flagged that train I would save myself a whole lot. Thanking her I once again started up the track. The sun had come out and the weather was beautiful. Presently I turned the bend and came upon a freight engine puffing on a siding. As I drew up closer the engineer dropped down from the cab and came running up to me. ''You 're
Frienie Gerard, for that

INSIDE STORY OF CANADIAN TRIP

281

Mr. Knowles, aren't you?" he asked coming forward with outstretched hand.
I told

him that

I was.
is

"All of Megantic
tinued.

waiting for you," he conare
there,

"Your

friends

together

with the game wardens of Maine and Canada, and they have planned a big welcome for you." In a moment the rest of the train crew had

come running

up, and for a few minutes I held

a reception in the middle of the track. Just as the little French girl had done, they told

me

that a passenger would be along any time

now, and said they would flag it. "Have you got any money to pay your fare into Megantic with?" asked the engineer. I laughed and told him the banks in the woods hadn't been doing business for a long time. He took a fifty-cent piece out of his I pocket and insisted on my borrowing it. accepted the loan and took his name.

By

this

time the whistle of the passenger

sounded up the track. The train was flagged and I went into one of the cars where I sank It It felt mighty good. into a plush seat.

was the first sign two months.

of luxury I

had experienced

in

Immediately the car was in an uproar. People from the other cars poured into the one I was

282
in

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

hand and asking me was a bit muddled hearing all those voices and seeing so many faces, and to this day I don't remember what I said or half what they asked. When the train pulled into Megantic I looked out of the window and beheld a sea of faces. When I came down the steps I thought the crowd would tear the skins from my body. I had n 't dreamed of such a reception as this. I don't know who it was, but somebody hustled me down the main street to the Queen's Hotel. The streets were choked with humanity, and I remember looking up and seeing the hotel decorated from bottom to top with British and American flags. Doctor Gregory of the Canadian Parliament was the first to welcome me. In the midst of a lot of excitement, in which newspaper men and townspeople were trying to get at me, I was hurried upstairs to a hotel room. I saw a bed
and began shaking
all

my

kinds of questions.

I confess I

over at one side and, stripping
skin, I

off

my

bear-

threw myself upon it just to see how would feel. It was pretty fine. I don't know how they got in, but it seemed as if a hundred men crowded every inch of that room. And everyone began to fire questions at me. How far had I walked? someone wanted to
it

INSIDE STORY OF CANADIAN TRIP
know.
done
it

283

I told

him that

my trip across to

covered about sixty-five miles,
in

Canada and that I had

two days and two nights. Nobody asked me if I wanted anything to eat. However, when I collected my thoughts I don't I saw that I was smoking a cigarette. remember taking it or lighting it. Someone just shoved it into my hand. One of the party of friends who had been on hand to greet me pushed through the crowd to
the bed, with four big strapping

men behind
of

him.
"Joe, these are the

game wardens

Maine,

who have come up to you back through the state," he said. I want to mention the names of these men
because they proved to be splendid friends to me on my homeward trip. They were F. J. Durgin,

welcome you and escort

warden of Somerset County; H. 0. Templeton, warden of Franklin County; James Wilcox and L. F. Comber, wardens of Somerset County. They assured me that I would not be molested on the downward trip, and that they
chief

considered

an honor to be one of the party! "You ought to have something to eat, Mr. Knowles," one of them suggested, whereupon a a doctor in the room, overhearing the remark, rushed forward holding up his hands in horror
it

284

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
said with a quaver in his voice,

and

"This

man

can't eat heartily after the diet he has been

on for two months? He must be most what he eats." "Well, he can have a spoonful of milk, can't he?" requested someone.
living

careful about

The doctor agreed to that. But as soon as he had left the room another voice shouted above the babel, "Gentlemen Gentlemen!"

The talk subsided. "Gentlemen, here is a man who has been living in the woods for two months
eating anything he could lay his hands on.

He

has just reached us after walking sixty-five miles

through the wilderness without eating a thing but a raw partridge since yesterday morning. Would n't it be interesting to see what he orders for his first meal?" Everybody thought it would. I looked around for the doctor, but he had n't

come back. Then I shouted the first thing that came into my head: "Fried salt pork, potatoes and tea." Everybody laughed.
I think I ordered that
it

was

my first
of

recollection of food

combination because back in those

days

poverty years ago.

When

the order

arrived I gazed with misgiving at a three-legged
table which during the last half -hour

had tipped

INSIDE STORY OF CANADIAN TRIP
over no
I

285

less

than a half-dozen times.

I

saw the

tray containing the food placed on that table and

jump to steady it. Then I looked at the food. With two bites and one swallow I could have cleaned everything up. But I was
a

made

back in
polite,

civilization

so I nibbled

and it was necessary to be and went on answering

questions.

As to my feelings among all those people, I was somewhat dazed. I answered them mechanically, my mind traveling with race-horse
speed.

wanted to see the papers and read what people had been saying about me. This I did later in the evening, after the room had been cleared. But even then I had to barricade the
I

door with furniture.

At half-past one the next morning I left Megantic en route for Boston by way of the
wilderness.

CHAPTER XIX
THE FUTURE

The ending

of

my two

months' experiment in

the woods of northern

Maine was only the
will, I

beginning of an experiment that
tance and magnitude.

hope,

lead up to something of international impor-

have many plans, some more remote than sometimes during my lifetime I hope to see them all carried out, for I believe that such plans worked out will create a new foundation on which the nation may stand. Simply because we are a civilized people does not mean that the days of wilderness
I

others; but

colonization are over.

Within a very few years

I hope,

with the

cooperation of the United States government,
to be able to establish a colony of

men and

outdoor movement, where every lover of nature may live as he wants to and was meant to live.
are
interested
in
this

women who

From

the

government
286

I

hope to obtain
if

thousands of acres of wild lands which,

not

THE FUTURE
utilized,

287
for

would remain a waste
I

hundreds

of

years.

have not perfected my plans at this early date, I sincerely hope that the project may be carried out under the Stars and
While
Stripes.

There are

possibilities

in

the Great

Lake

region on the Michigan and Minnesota shores,

and

if

that land

is

not available the whole

great Canadian wilds stretch off on the other
side of the lakes, a part of

which might be obtrespass

tained from the Canadian government.

This idea would in no

way

of the Forward-to-the-Land

upon that Movement. This
life

colony would be something entirely different

would be would learn followed, where men and women to use the things of nature around them and
colony where the simplest

—a

nothing

else.

My

idea

school of

have this colony a practical nature, where young men may go
is

to

for a short time, just as they

learn things scientific.

go to college to There is no College of Nature in the world to-day, and the people of our times are sadly in need of that branch
of education.

In this colony nothing will be commercialStockbrokers, land grabbers, or timber ized.

288

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

— are

speculators will not be allowed to live there. There will be no grafting or thieving. Already many of the most reputable men in men who have done big things the country

interested in this project.

ing board of this colony will

The governbe made up of such

As unprimitive as it may seem, it men. would be absolutely necessary to have some law in such a community; but the laws would be so simple that they would not interfere with the independence of man. It will not be a colony for the immigrant, but a settlement for the rich and the poor

who

desire to learn

about the great outdoors
live

and the animals that

within the forest.
a

The
filling

killing of wild

animals would only be
If

allowed in cases of necessity.
for

man needed
moccasins,

snowshoes,
kill his

hides

for

or food, he could

game; but only under
could be sent outof progres-

such conditions.

No game

side of the colony.

The whole scheme would be one
siveness,
self.

and every man would labor for himIn time of absolute necessity, humanity
its part.

would play

I could live

among

the people and

tell

them

what I know, and there would be others who would do the same.

THE FUTURE
People

289

who bore

the proper credentials from

a board of centralization could live in this colony a part of the year or the whole
year.

With the proper
their

instruction they

own

log cabins in

would build winter, and their lean-

tos in

summer.
be a purely
scientific

It will

and educational

movement.

Where do a majority

of the people of to-day

go in the summertime? They go to the crowded summer resorts, They at the seashore and the mountains. whirl along with them, and carry the social

when they return after a vacation they are even more tired than when they went av»^ay. What
because balls, have they learned? Nothing parties, and other games did not give whist

them

time.

In this College of Nature the man rests while he labors. The life in the outdoors gives him

new health, and every day he lives he will find new wonders. He will marvel at the companionship of the wild animal.
All the luxuries of
life will be left behind. be no need of the theater. The

There
forest

will

itself

has

many
will

comedies,

dramas

and

tragedies.

There

be no demand for

290

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
will differ

Games will be played, and from whist in stuffy rooms. I think under such conditions the bringing back of almost extinct blood in horses could be worked out. There would be great opportunity to raise the Morgan Horse, which the United States and Canadian governments are trying so hard to get. This horse is known as the American Arab, and is the hardiest and speediest known. In such a country they would thrive. I am convinced that such a College of Nature would result in a marked change in child literature. Through the books which would be written the child would come to love the woods rather than to fear them. It would be my intention, while the life in this colony was progressing, to furnish the outside world with reports of the work and the methods used. Such material would play its part along educational lines. It could be used
such amusement.

they

in

the regular public-school curriculum with
effect,

powerful
lished.

and the something that

is

now

lacking in our school system would be estab-

very well to dissect a flower in the classroom, and to demonstrate the fact that
It is all

the intestines of a clam run through

its heart",

A PORTION OF THE CROWD THAT GREETED JOSEPH KNOWLES ON HIS ARRIVAL IN BOSTON, OCTOBER 9, 1913

THE FUTURE
but such education
is

291

useless unless the student

knows what the smell of earth is like, and unless he knows what it is to wade up to his knees in the cold mud and dig for clams. Fundamental training is the necessary thing
that
is

lacking to-day.

Even the trade school lacks these fundamentals. The boy studying to be a carpenter
would be a better carpenter if he first lived in the woods and understood just how much a tree will do for man. In the trade school the boy makes something out of what he has. He does not think back of that. He does not realize that the wood makes fire for him, that the fire can be used as tools, that the tree even produces food. He would learn a value of woods such as he could never learn in the schoolroom, and knowing that value he could work more economically and produce better work. I never realized until after I came from the woods how very little the average person seems to know about the forest and the things therein. The constant deluge of most ordinary questions which I have every day makes me marvel
at

the ignorance that exists concerning this
I

vital subject.

average

man and woman
life.

have come to believe that the has no conception

of the forest

292

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS

Coming down from Canada through the Maine there was a newspaper man, who had seen much of Hfe, in the party. Sailing down the streams or walking
wilderness of northern

along the trails, he would go into ecstasies whenever a deer appeared in the distance. It was the same when ducks rose from under the alders or when a bear ran away into the woods
ahead.

This
the

man had traveled much. He had met biggest men in the country, and was a man
was
like a child there in the for-

of affairs, yet he
est.

He was

before
.

— something he had only read about.
I

seeing something he

had never seen
hope to eshe has
life.

This College of Nature, which
will

tablish,

teach

man
very

the

things

missed in the rush of twentieth-century

As

I stated in the

first

chapter of this

book, in carrying out

my

two months' experido a wonderful
of reasonable

ment
thing.

in the wilderness I did not
I

repeat that any

man

health could have done exactly what I did.

Men
it

of the

woods,

who know, do not

think

so wonderful.

are constantly telling

Yet there are hundreds who me what a wonderful

thing

it

was.

Together with these, there are

those who, not understanding
believe

wood

life,

dis-

my

stories outright.

THE FUTURE
For the benefit
in the near future, to

293

of this last class I propose,

make
first.

a second experiment

in the forest like the

Just as I did on

August fourth, 19 13, I will enter the forest naked and without food or implements of any kind to aid me, and will rehearse my experiment all over again so far as living on my own
resources
is

concerned.
this

However, on
thing.

second trip I will add some-

In order to convince the people

who

cannot understand at present, I will allow a dozen representative men to accompany me and

watch me

live the primitive

life.

may
serve

enjoy the comforts of camp

life

These men and ob-

me

constantly.
if

Of course

I

am

to get a deer with

my hands,
let

as I did the last time, these

men must

me

dozen men could n't lie around watching me do this. But with such freedom of hunting as would be absolutely necessary, the observers would be able to keep strict tabs upon me every day of
go and get
it

undisturbed.

A

the experiment.

be conclusive proof. I will guarantee on this second experiment to get myself in a condition to meet any change of climate in spring, summer, fall, and winter. If the Maine game and fish commissioners
trip will

Such a

294

ALONE IN THE WILDERNESS
me
I

refuse

a permit a second time to

kill

game

strate the

need for the experiment, I life in Canada, where I
this

will

what demonhave

shall

no trouble in this respect. I made up my mind to try

second experi-

ment even before I reached Boston on my way from the wilderness after my first one. It was at a banquet at Portland that a man came up,
and, shaking

my

hand, said:
I

"Mr. Knowles,

want

to congratulate

the remarkable thing you have done."
the same thing over again,

you on It was

and I couldn't help inwardly smiling at the word ''remarkable." "I want you to know," the man continued, " that I believe in you, but there are some at this banquet to-night who are skeptical."
"Well, that
before,
is

their privilege," I answered.
it

This phase of

hadn't come
of the

to

my mind

and the idea

second trip imme-

diately occurred to me.
I

decided then that

I

to convince everybody;

In the meantime
art.

I

would make it, in order and I will! have not forgotten my

In the rush of
of

many

duties

this

life-

work

mine
I

is

only neglected, but not for-

gotten.

look forward with

new
in

spirit

and

feel-

ing to getting to

work again

my

studio.

My

experiment gave

me many new

ideas

THE FUTURE
knowledge that possessed before about art.
practical

295
I

and much

never

In conclusion

let

me

appeal to every man,
offers.

woman, and

child to take advantage of the

wonderful bounty that nature

study the greatest textbook of all book of nature. Let them find health and char-

— the

Let them open

and happiness among the trees of the and in the great outdoors. Let them understand the wild creatures, who have souls like themselves. Let them abandon all things artificial and really live. Let them answer she has the call of the natural mother
acter
forest

blessings

untold to bestow.
truly:

In a word,

let

humanity be born again. Wordsworth has said

" Nature never did betray the heart that loved her."

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-Pl.

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

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